Alumna brings art, history together in the classroom

Tue, 2013-08-13 08:20 -- univcomm
Vanessa DeYoung
August 13, 2013

Vanessa DeYoung wears her love of art and all things creative on her sleeve.

“I’ve always loved making art,” said DeYoung. Painting, mixed media, and pastels get her going. Her excitement for art drives her to share it. DeYoung, 32, is in her seventh year sparking young minds at Anderson Elementary School.

“There’s nothing as pure and beautiful and creative as watching a child create. I just love it,” said DeYoung. She also noted that, for some kids, art offers a way to shine. “It gives certain kids something to be proud of.”

DeYoung’s philosophy is that academics and art go together.

“In my class, I use a lot of literature, a lot of books,” said DeYoung. “I’ll read them a story. We’ll study the author and illustrator.”

She ties artwork to the artist’s time and place. “I really think that if you give children access to history and how it connects back to their own culture, it’s interesting to them," she said. "They really do get excited about it.”

While DeYoung did not set out to be an elementary school teacher, the path found her. DeYoung holds a bachelor of arts in art education from Anderson University.

“I got hired at Anderson Community Schools right out of college. I took the job and I just fell in love,” said DeYoung.

DeYoung spent part of her early youth in Anderson, and attended Park Place Elementary for awhile. Her dad’s work as a pastor also took them to live in places like California, Florida, and Colorado.

DeYoung married her husband, Mark, four years ago. He’s just finished his master's in theology, and is applying to doctorate programs. They are now parents to 2-year old Zion.

The artist and her husband love to travel, and they’ve checked out a few pretty interesting spots already. India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Mexico have been on their itineraries.

“I would love to take my son to Africa when he’s older,” said the artist. Also on DeYoung’s agenda is making more art and exhibiting more in galleries.

In addition to teaching at Anderson, DeYoung offers private art lessons all year, and has begun collaborating with Park Place Arts with her recent Self Portrait class there.

— Nancy R. Elliott is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.