Middle school art teacher’s work on display at Wilson

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By Andrew Nostvick

RED OAK — This week is the final week for people to see the latest lobby gallery display at the Wilson Performing Arts Center by Curt Adams.

Adams said his display was inspired by a graduate student at Drake named Marvin Hill, who had created 3-D woodcuts.

Hill died of cancer about five years ago. Adams said he thought of the 3-D work Hill did and decided to do a tribute, starting with a 3-D Painting.

“And then I became fascinated with the whole process,” he said.

Adams started using a net, which is a three-dimensional form created from a flat, folded up, form. The equivalent would be a folded up box.

“I paint and draw on them when they’re flat and then I fold them up, it’s kind of like building a model almost, out of paper,” he said.

It’s all about discovery and playing with Adams and his artwork, in terms of working with new shapes.

“Sometimes it’s like ‘aww man, I wish I would have listened up in 10th grade Geometry class, this might be a little easier,’ Adams said, laughing. “I have a couple of textbooks, geometry books, every once in a while I’ll go back and refer to, to help me out on some things.”

Adams sees his works as part of his dreams and tries to bring them into the real world so he and other people can see them.

“A lot of times, I’ll have an idea and I’ll want to see what it looks like,” he said. “I want to create something that I’ve never seen before.”

All of Adams work for the gallery has been done within the last couple of years.

“They get a little more 3-D and sculptural as they go,” Adams said.
Adams received a Bacheor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from Drake University in Des Moines in 1984.

He had an interest in commercial art, but found that it wasn’t his “cup of tea.” Adams discovered and loved printmaking because it’s a drawing medium.

“I could have gone into art education from the very beginning, but that’s not how I do things,” Adams joked.

Three years later, Adams received his Masters of Fine Art in printmaking from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

“I really like working with paper. I love drawing and I just love paper as a material,” Adams said.

Adams teaches art at Red Oak Middle School and is also the head coach for the Red Oak Cross Country teams.

He originally started out in Springfield, Ill., teaching special education.

Adams said there is a creativity involved with teaching in special education.

“You had all these kids with special needs and you had to figure out how to reach them,” he said. “I basically had a lot of freedom to figure out, okay what’s going to work with this particular kid.”

Adams said his perspective has changed from working with middle school students now  he views them as more of an audience.

“What would a middle schooler get out of this,” Adams said. “What are going to be their thoughts when they look at it.”

Adams has worked in Red Oak for 11 years, spending most of that time teaching special education. He was hired as the new middle school instructor in March 2010.

“I really enjoy teaching. It doesn’t matter what the subject is,” Adams said.

Adams said there’s a lot of skills in teaching art and he makes an attempt to teach his students those skills, like drawing, as well as problem solving.

“Being creative is really a lot about problem solving and being willing to maybe look at the problem from different points of view,” Adams said.

Adams has always loved art from the very beginning. His father, who was a painter, taught Adams how to draw when he was younger.

“In high school, I took all the art classes I could. I can’t really imagine I would have survived high school without art,” Adams said. “I was pretty good in school, but if I didn’t have that art, there would have been very little reason for me to go to school. Because that’s the way I felt about it, I had to have that.”

Adams said there are a lot of kids that need more than reading, writing and arithmetic, art is something, whether it’s music or something else, they have a passion for pursuing.

“They have to have that outlet,” he said.

This isn’t Adams first gallery. He’s had a few others, including one in Springfield, as well as work at a gallery in Shenandoah.
Adams will feature some of his work at Shen-fest on Sept. 24.

Adams, along with his wife Cherie Miner, are responsible for bringing in artists to display their artwork at the Performing Arts Center.

Adams volunteered to put his artwork up when they had the opening available, hoping to have it up for the beginning of the school year.

“I made sure everything I had in there was kid-friendly,” he said. “Kids especially, I think, are more appreciative of the wackiness of some of my work.”

Adams said they’re constantly looking for new artists to display, focusing on artists around this area.

The Wilson PAC will host an Open House this Saturday from 4-6 p.m.
Adams 3-D displays are available to view during the week Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Any artists interested in displaying their work should contact the Wilson Performing Arts Center at 712-623-3135.