Art Inspiration Stories | Back to School

Artsy Encouragement Collection - hand illustrated cards and waterproof stickers created by PA artist, Verena Lichty.

It was fun to walk down the hallway at Northern Potter Elementary School and peek into each classroom. Every teacher had a different style. They worked hard to make their space fresh, inviting, and interesting for the kids. It’s no small task to morph from a carefree summer wild child into an obedient, focused learner. While they waved goodbye to their own summer freedom, these teachers went about creating a place that would inspire their students.

While growing up in northern PA, each August meant preparing to head back to school.  In our house, this transitional season had an extra dose of meaning because my mom was an elementary school teacher.  I loved helping her set up her room for that first day of school. 

Seeing a school behind-the-scenes has its own sort of magic. My favorite room was the supply room. It was lined with shelves, packed full of school supplies. It smelled of “new”. Newly printed books whose bindings creaked as you opened them, planners without any plans, unsharpened pencils free of bite marks, packs of perfectly shaped crayons, fresh journals with blank pages full of possibility. 

As I reflect on this feeling, I’m beginning to recognize the root of my paper addiction. As a full-grown adult, any time I go into a Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or even the notebook aisle in Dollar General, I have trouble leaving without some form of a paper product. I mean, can you ever have enough sketch books and journals? 

We would grab a cart, fill it with supplies and then roll it down the hall. Once in the classroom, we’d begin divvying everything up between the students. I would carefully create nametags and write their names on their journals. Eventually, each desk had a neat little pile of that student’s school supplies for the year. Each year, mom would pick a theme and deck out the classroom. Usually, she would add a couple of fun and funky items that related to that year’s theme to make her students feel special. 

So when I heard about a local shop giving away school supplies, it got me thinking – how about adding some encouragement?

I enjoyed playing around with some vibrant watercolors to create what I call the “Artsy Encouragement Collection”. Hopefully, these cards and stickers will be used to brighten the lives of anyone – both young and young at heart – that is having to make a transition. Transitions take all shapes. Whether they are shaking off the summer to start school, launching a new career, working through a physical struggle, working on breaking a bad habit, or taking on a new challenge, we all could use a little encouragement.

View the Artsy Encouragement collection in our online shop – https://farmingartist.square.site/s/shop

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