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Teachers Showcase Artistic Talents

3 mins read

M-A students have vast creative achievements, and while they should always be celebrated, it’s time to shine the spotlight on teachers’ artistic endeavors outside of the classroom. 

Erica Woll

Science teacher Erica Woll has a passion for nail art. After seeing Instagram Reels of fun nail designs, Woll embarked on her own nail journey, learning how to master various techniques, patterns, and embellishments. 

Woll said, “I like how creative and fun it is. If I mess up, it’s not a big deal, and I can just start over.” 

Woll’s art is inspired by seasonal themes, holidays like Valentine’s Day, school events, and more.

Her talents are very impressive, as nail art requires ambidextrous abilities and attention to detail, all with a fairly small canvas. 

Starting in October of 2022, Woll has documented her efforts with photos of each of the sets she designs.

Sarah Frivold

Photography teacher Sarah Frivold has always had a creative influence in her life but fell in love with photography. 

The summer before her senior year of high school, Frivold took an art course that included a photography unit. Frivold loved the photography class so much that she even changed her school schedule to include photography. “I loved every second of it, and fell in love with it,” Frivold said. 

One of Frivold’s core memories was debating the difference between two David sculptures with her grandfather when she was just five years old after he showed her the two versions in an art book. Frivold recalls this memory fondly and pinpoints it as a turning point in her life—the beginning of her love for art. Frivold said, “As a kid, I always had sketchbooks, I always had art books. Art has always just been a part of my life.”

“ART HAS ALWAYS JUST BEEN A PART OF MY LIFE.”

Part of the reason Frivold enjoys art forms like drawing and painting is that she can feel productive and creative in her art regardless of her mood or inspiration. But with photography, she is able to speak her truth. Frivold said, “When I go out and take a photographic series, I often have a specific idea.” Her recent inspirations have been related to the structures within Americana and suburbia because she can find beauty in the imperfect. “The stuff that stands out is sometimes the things that people don’t always want to look at,” Frivold said. 

Frivold enjoys photography because it has always been a natural part of her life. “It just feels right,” Frivold said, “When I’m really in my element, traveling and taking pictures, it’s centering. It’s calming. Sometimes it’s a release. Sometimes it’s cathartic—it’s saying something. Sometimes it’s productive.” 

One of her favorite photo series centers on her great-grandfather’s home, before and after they moved him out of it, conveying the idea that his home was central to his identity and an extension of himself. 

Along with photography, drawing, and painting, Frivold also does woodworking and built 12 tables for her wedding.

Lance Powell

AP Environmental Science teacher Lance Powell enjoys playing guitar and composing music in his free time. Powell found his love of music while he was in college. Inspired by Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up in Blue, Powell decided he was going to commit a year to learning the guitar, and just two weeks in got hooked. He is completely self-taught and has found a decades-long passion for playing the guitar. 

Currently, Powell plays in a blues-funk-based rock-n-roll band called Bionic Sloth and has been in the band for nearly ten years. Aside from dabbling in covers, the band is currently focusing on producing its own music. Right now, they’re in the middle of working on their third album and typically play gigs around once a week.  

Powell composes and writes all of the music for Bionic Sloth, and has been composing music since graduating college. This will be the seventh album he has written. When asked about his inspiration, he said, “The influences for me are New Orleans funk, Grateful Dead, and a kind of improvisational music.” 

Powell explained that there are many reasons he gravitates towards the world of music. It’s a way to keep him busy, but also a great way to unwind after a long day of teaching. “I always have a guitar in my hands when I’m not at school,” Powell said.

Songwriting is particularly important to Powell because of its therapeutic nature. He said, “Songwriting helps me deal with the world. I feel like it’s a great form of expression.” A lot of Powell’s music revolves around current events and songwriting is a way for him to process and make sense of everything in a poetic and creative way. 

“Songwriting helps me deal with the world. I feel like it’s a great form of expression.”

Now, after around three decades of playing guitar and writing his own music, Powell has been able to see his progression––something he finds quite rewarding. Powell said, “I think it’s a good thing for everyone to have something that they do where they can see their improvement over time.”

To listen to Bionic Sloth on Spotify, use the link below: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2rkbI8eBi3y0EDzpXPfUfd

Riona is a senior and in her first year of journalism. She enjoys drawing and photography, and hopes to take on a more artistic role in journalism this year.

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