It was a crisp fall day in Kansas City when third grader Debi West, dressed in a white Bee Gee’s inspired pantsuit, was introduced to art class. It’s no wonder this memory burns so bright for the artist, teacher, mother and entrepreneur. It was the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of art.
“I was always creative. I would make my mark in the steam on the shower door, or take my finger and make my mark on the side of dusty cars, and then I would pick up crayons and make my mark all over my parents’ dining room wall,” she says, her laugh echoing over the phone. “I was that kid.” For Debi, her elementary art class, bright and early in the morning, changed everything. It was a chance to be celebrated for making her mark.
Thankfully, for her family’s sake, Debi has stopped making her mark on dining room walls. The mixed media artist teaches art to both young and old, writes for the Art of Education University, acts as a graduate assistant, designs and sells jewelry and is president and founder of WESTpectations, an educational consulting business that promotes the importance of art.