What is it that makes people want to become teachers? What is it that drives them to help others build their knowledge and confidence? Talking with Sarajane Fellini, I couldn’t help but think how so much of her life has revolved around education. As a small child, dyslexia made most school subjects a challenge, but not art. When her parents encouraged her to become a nurse, she chose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree at a small women’s college in her hometown of Davenport, Iowa. There, she learned from the two art teachers on staff, “how to weld and how to live”. When she re-entered the professional world after 10 years as a stay-at-home mother, she earned her teaching certificate, attended graduate school at the University of Iowa, learned to create with iron, and studied meditation with a Tibetan monk. After traveling through Europe, she returned to Iowa and taught art at a prep school for 28 years. Seven years ago, she retired and moved to Montague, MI, making her yearly vacation destination her full-time home. Today, she continues to teach a weekly class for adults with cognitive and physical impairments and other courses every so often at the ACWL-Nuveen.
To me, it’s clear that Sarajane became a teacher because she so enjoys learning. To her, “the art is the doing, not the product”. It’s because of this attitude that she doesn’t get too attached to any of her pieces and thinks of them all as practice. And within practice is space to learn without the pressure of perfection. This is a mindset that not only makes for an eager student, but also an exceptional teacher.
Today, you can find Sarajane’s work at the ACWL-Nuveen Gallery, the Montague Artisan Market, and Taqueria Diaz. To find out when she’s teaching another class at ACWL-Nuveen, be sure to ‘like’ our Facebook page and sign up for email updates on our website, www.artswhitelake.org