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Lancaster Educator Inspires Students With Artwork

Lancaster Educator Inspires Students With Artwork

Lancaster Central Schools are known for their top-notch educators who inspire students with their passion and real-world experiences. Lancaster High School Art Teacher Ann PerrySmith is one educator leading by example for her students as well as future art educators.

Mrs. PerrySmith has been teaching for 31 years. This year she is the Art Department chairperson and teaches Ceramics I and II along with an Internship class for the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and independent study students.

Mrs. PerrySmith is a Roycroft Master Artisan and a part of the Buffalo State College Professional Development Consortium, which connects art education students with working art teachers for mentorships, shadowing and student teaching experiences. Being a part of the consortium also provides professional learning opportunities and participation in art shows like the Artist/Educator Exhibit, held March 23-April 7 at the Czurles-Nelson Gallery at SUNY Buffalo State College. The exhibit featured Mrs. PerrySmith’s three sculptures, “TALK,” “FEED,” and “HELP,” that were inspired by the pandemic and life’s necessities.Ann PerrySmith

The exhibit was meant to share the work of educators while also paying gratitude to the people acting as mentors and working to ensure that the torch of visual arts continues to be passed on to new generations.

“The passion I have for creating artwork and teaching are inextricably linked. The support I feel from fellow artists and artist-teachers helps fuel that passion,” Mrs. PerrySmith explained.

Lancaster’s arts educators are a supportive team of professionals who regularly meet to discuss best practices, new trends and give advice. In addition to the support of her team and her husband who is himself a ceramic artist, Ann is inspired by her students.

“My students give me a fresh look and inspiration that shapes my voice. I hope I impact them similarly. I hope they ‘see me.’ To quote a familiar phrase ‘see me, you can be me,’ but I really hope they reach far beyond,” she said. “Several of my former students have become well known artists, providing validation for my efforts. My artwork has appeared alongside theirs in national and regional museum exhibitions over the years.”

Additionally, Mrs. PerrySmith and her students will be featured in the 3rd Edition of "Experience Clay" (Davis Studio Series) due out this fall.  Lancaster students and Mrs. PerrySmith have been featured in all three editions of the ceramic art textbook over the years. 

“Creating is a labor-intensive process. My students are expected to do all of the same steps that I do as they create their artwork. Sharing what I discovered at home with them is exciting. But it is even more so when they reciprocate, inspiring me or starting a discussion taking us both to another avenue of expression,” Mrs. PerrySmith added.

Lancaster Schools offer a K-12 art program that serves to inspire creativity and build on skills, culminating in advanced offerings at the high school level including Advanced Placement and the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts.