11 QUESTIONS FOR
In Marin / Q&A
1 Did you always know you wanted to be an art eacher? When I was a little girl I would arrange
my stuffed animals like a class and I would teach them
how to draw or craft. Later, I fell in love with teaching
when I was asked to teach an after-school art class in
my West Marin community. I then knew that I wanted
to create, communicate and share my experiences. I
was not shy to take on the hard work it took to become
an inspiring teacher and role model.
2 What do you especially love about teaching art to children? I love teaching my students the
language of the visual arts, connecting to history,
science, social justice, personal views and the world.
Also I enjoy seeing my students experience the magic
of art as I guide them while they’re creating with their
hands, shaping ideas and dreams into sculptures and
images that everyone can touch and see.
3 Favorite art technique you teach to kids? Annually I like to plan and direct an event/project that
involves and connects my entire student body of 650 to
the immediate community. The 2017 Bacich Elementary
School upcycling art installation entailed one large art
installation per grade level, temporarily installed in different locations around the Bacich campus.
4 Messiest classroom art project? Creating art with kindergartners is messy most of the time; however,
messy equals fun and full student engagement. Top of
the messy list: papier-mâché, plaster and glitter.
5 If you could bring in a famous artist to your class as a guest, who would it be and why? Eric Carle.
My students and I love his books and illustrations. I teach
an Eric Carle lesson where students collage animals in an
Eric Carle style, out of hand-painted texture paper.
Barbara Libby-Steinmann travels the creative road of a fine artist and art
educator with vibrancy, passion for fresh ideas and a deep connection
and dedication to art in schools. The proof? She was recently honored
as Marin County Teacher of the Year and was a top 12
finalist for California Teacher of the Year. Her gift, beyond
her own artistic talent (she was twice a finalist for our
own Get Covered art contest), is that she connects all artists — those
in her classroom at Bacich Elementary in Kentfield and in the greater
community — through her enthusiasm and engagement. KIER HOLMES
6 Favorite artists? Andy Goldsworthy, Georgia
O’Keeffe, Dugald Stermer and
7 Where are your favorite places in Marin to paint or sketch? The
redwoods on Bolinas Ridge, Wildcat Beach,
Ridgecrest overlooking Stinson Beach, and Palomarin.
8 What local museums do you visit for inspira- tion? The de Young/Legion of Honor museums
and the new SFMOMA. I am also a member and participant of Marin Open Studios, and so I visit the local
studios of my artist peers to fill my mind and body
with fresh artistic energy.
9Why is art important for young kids? Integrating the arts is the key to a balanced
education. The arts motivate and engage students
in understanding their inner strengths and abilities to discover what truly inspires them.
10Would you describe your teaching style? Using a student-focused approach that
emphasizes both experimentation and excellence, I
invite students to push out the bounds of their own
understanding, to follow their natural curiosity while
engaging with materials and models.
11 What are the challenges you face as an art teacher? In an ideal world, students
would have access to arts education every day.
Unfortunately, this is not what a typical public
school schedule looks like. Due to funding chal-
lenges, arts education is limited or not
present at all. m B