The Artisan — Tessie Garcia

In the spotlight: Tessie Garcia, artist and teacher.

The Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op is kicking off the All Community Art Contest,“Creatively Yours!,” beginning Jan. 2, and we are pleased to feature Tessie Garcia, artist and art teacher of the Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

Hopefully, many of Garcia’s students, along with students from other educational programs will participate in the first art contest hosted by the Co-op.

Many of you know Tessie Garcia and might have been in one of her art classes. She began working for the school district in 1984 as a substitute teacher, a tutor and a teacher’s aide. In 1993, she was a part of introducing the arts to the Pagosa Springs Elementary School. Jennifer Alley wrote a grant and Tessie began the art program and it has been a vital part of the education program for the school ever since.

Tessie was born and raised in Pagosa Springs. When I asked her when she decided she wanted to be a teacher, she immediately said, “It was in third grade that I knew I wanted to be an art teacher. It was because of my teacher, Miss Nash. She was incredible.

“By high school, my art teachers, Charla Ellis and Paul Henry, were the greatest influence as to the direction that my life would take. By then I had no doubt that I was going to be an art teacher and went to Adams State College in Alamosa to receive my teacher’s degree.”

Tessie paints, draws, works with jewelry, is a photographer and a potter. Students have experienced a vast variety of hands-on art because of her knowledge and ability to teach different forms of art.

I asked Tessie what her students have said to her about art? Her face broke into a big smile as she searched her mind and she thought of all the things these little children have said. “They have said, ‘You make me love art, art rocks.’ I get a lot of thank yous, but my favorite is from one of my students who said, ‘Art is the refreshment of the day.’”

Many of her students from the last 17 years have come back and thanked her for teaching them and have used her creative influence for their own crafts. Several of her students have pursued their dream as a teacher and have told her that she gave them a foundation for loving art.

“There are many things I want to give my students: self-expression, confidence, that they might know they can do art, and maybe I might just open their eyes to the world.”

When Tessie began her career, she tells how she had many things against her. Being Hispanic, a woman and a minority, but her parents were her biggest supporter and told her to do what would make her happy. She feels that she might be an influence for her own culture.

“We are very fortunate that we have such a strong art community and we have always had great support from the school administration,” says Garcia.

Tessie Garacia is one in the line of many wonderful teachers who you might recognize and who have touched and influenced your life and the lives of many of the young people of Pagosa. The Co-op is pleased to work with Tessie and the elementary school of Pagosa in promoting art in the All Community Art Contest.

Yes Tessie, art is the best refreshment of the day!

At the Co-op

The artists at the Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op want to thank you for the wonderful support you have given us in our first year, and we are looking forward to serving you in this new year.

As we wrap up 2008 we are proud to announce our All Community Art Contest beginning Jan. 2. The theme is’“Creatively Yours!” and will include first-graders through senior citizens.

The Co-op will be receiving artwork from the first- through fourth-graders Jan. 2-31.

A reception will be held 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, announcing the winners. There will be first, second and third place awards for first- and second-graders and first, second and third place for third- and fourth-graders. The artwork will be on display at the Co-op for the month and the students will have an opportunity to sell their work with full proceeds going to them.

Application forms, including deadlines and rules, will be at the Pagosa Artisans’ Co-op, located in the Purple House across the street from Farrago’s and Kip’s, open Monday-Saturday10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-4. Call 264-2781 for more details.

Town businesses have jumped on board and will be giving free merchandise and service to the winners. The following sponsors are DSP Pizza, Shang Hai, Hot Springs, Ramons’ Mexican Restaurant, La Tazza, Chato’s and Tequila’s.

We welcome any business who would like to be a sponsor and your business will be recognized during the contest.  Thank you for your consideration.  Call Patti Rios at 946-7765.

Quote for the Week: “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his picture.” — Henry Ward Beecher.


Photo courtesy Betty Slade
Tessie Garcia is the art teacher at Pagosa Springs Elementary School. The Pagosa Artisans Co-op is working with Garcia with Tessie and the elementary school administration in promoting the arts with the All Community Art Contest.