kik SPOTLIGHT :
Q & A with Ms. Barbara Libby
kik: How long have you been teaching at Bacich?
BL: I have been teaching Visual Arts to the entire Bacich student body since 2006.
kik: You’ve done some phenomenal all-school thematic art projects. Can you describe a few and/or do you have a favorite?
BL: Yes, I love to create and direct art events and projects that involve and connect the entire student body and the immediate community. I have designed, organized, taught and installed several school wide art projects over the years. My absolute favorite is the Community Art Fence project, a culmination and arts integration across curricula inspired by California artist and illustrator Rafael Lopez. The Bacich Art room was the center stage of making this school wide work and learning visible.
Focusing on the question: How can artists positively impact their community? Each grade level was creating a meaningful element of our community art fence. Through arts integration methodology, aligned with grade level focus work and cross curricula study, students worked in partnerships on the following themes:
The Community Art Fence truly looks spectacular from the street and even more impressive up close. The hard work, patience and commitment and collaboration of students and teachers made it all come together in such an inclusive and creative way. It was a monumental effort so it’s only fitting that the fence feels like it’s really a monument to our school and our community to this very day.
kik: Can you describe a little about your art background and style?
2017/18 California Teacher of the Year Finalist
2017/18 Marin County Teacher of the Year
2015 NBCT National Board Certified Teacher, Early and Middle Childhood Art Education
2006 K-12 Grade Single Subject Art Teaching Credential, Dominican University, CA, USA
2000 BFA in Illustration, California College of Arts and Crafts, CA, USA
1993 BAF in Visual Retail Display, Gestalterische Berufschule Zürich Switzerland
Personal Background: born in Rüti (ZH) Switzerland, resides in San Geronimo, California, USA
I have developed a comprehensive and integrated TK-Grade 4 visual arts program. I provide my students with a diverse, highly engaging curriculum, which is aligned with the National Visual Art Standards. My expertise lies in building, refining, and implementing both discrete curricula in the visual arts and arts-integrated and STEAM instruction across curricula. I cultivate student engagement and assessment strategies that make learning visible and lay the groundwork for future exercises in inquiry.
kik: Who or what influences your work?
BL: My upbringing on a dairy farm built the foundation of my deep connection with family, nature and the land. My passion is to be outdoors, breathing in the fresh cool air of a new day, feeling the sea breeze on my skin, climbing a mountain and enjoying stunning views. As I spend time outdoors, either on bike rides or hikes, nature’s beauty is all inspiring to me. I might notice vast shapes, textures, lines, contrasts, colors, the delicate details of a bird’s feathers, or my eye might catch the simple beauty of a spiral on a small shell. As I exercise, fragments of ideas or sometimes entire concepts pop in my head with the rhythmic movement of my body and breath. I use a camera to document what I see. My photo archive is an invaluable tool for my creative process. In capturing nature’s beauty on my canvas I like to trust my instincts and stay fresh. I experiment with simplifying essential shapes and lines, moving towards the abstract, but never completely losing touch with the essential details. My color palette is vibrant, and with the use of complementary colors I am able to give my paintings subtle movement.
kik: Can you list any special accolades, art exhibitions, or honors you’d like to share?
BL: In 2015 I have achieved Nation Board Certification in Early and Middle Childhood Visual Arts Education. I have been honored for my teaching excellence as the Marin County Teacher of the Year and California Teacher of the Year Finalist in 2018. My personal artwork has been sold to private collectors in the USA, Switzerland and Canada. In 2018 my work was selected for the “Hearts in San Francisco” project, an annual art installation by San Francisco General Hospital.
kik: How did the idea of “a beautiful oops” come about?
BL: Beautiful Oops! is a one-of-a-kind bestseller that started a movement: It’s OK to make a mistake! Barney Saltzberg’s book Beautiful Oops! shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity. A spill. A smear. A smudge. A tear. When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful! A life lesson, my mantra teaching and working in a creative space. I teach my students that it is OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery.
kik: Any hobbies you’d like to share?
BL: I am an avid cyclist. I spend my free time riding my mountain bike and road bike exploring the beautiful sights Marin County has to offer. I also love to read, cook, and spend time with my family and friends.
kik: What is your most favorite place on earth and why?
BL: Nature is my favorite place on earth. Nature’s beauty rejuvenates and inspires me.
kik: Is there anything else you’d like to add? Something you’d like our school community to know, understand or think about?
BL: I am a vocal advocate for Pre-Kindergarten-12th grade Arts and Arts Integrated education. My deeply grounded morals and ethics in arts education has benefited educators and administrators to improve their own job satisfaction while learning new strategies for delivering on the promise of the Common Core Curriculum and the Next Generation Science Standards. I believe that all students can learn and create and that integrating the arts is the key to a balanced education. My work has motivated parents, educators and students in ascertaining their inner strengths and abilities to discover what truly inspires them.
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