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Who inspired you?

When you ask this question to many people, a significant number will tell you it was one their teachers. A math teacher who gave them that extra bit of tutoring to get through the subject, an English teacher that pushed them to truly read things and understand them in a different way or an art teacher that lit a fire within them to go on to a life full of art.

The exhibition that is currently at the SAGE Community art exhibition gallery is: "The Joy of Self-Expression: The Legacy of Nancy Buening." Bringing this show together has been an amazing experience to see the growth of an artist through their work and then the impact that they had on their students. Nancy Buening was a teacher for 41 years in the school district, at Sheridan College and through local artist guilds.

The artist profile on Nancy Buening from the Wyoming Arts Council website shows the prolific impact that Nancy was able to have on some 17,000 individuals and students throughout her career. This is a tremendous example of what teachers who are passionate about their craft are able to achieve.

A fitting addition to the show in the exhibition gallery is the special tribute wall. The wall is full of paintings in several mediums, all by students of Nancy’s. Some of the images were created in her classes and have fantastic stories behind them. Stories of honest critiques of the painting's quality or how Nancy would push the students to be more bold and take their painting to the next level. Other paintings on the tribute wall are not the results of a specific class but the overall teachings from Nancy and the students finding that joy of self-expression.

At SAGE, we strive to continue what Nancy helped start so many years ago when we were a humble artist guild. Working closely with the classes and workshop committee,  we are exploring many different opportunities for classes and ideas for workshops. Time of days and lengths of the classes have been diversified so we are able to reach a wider range of students and offer more to the community.

With the pandemic slowly lifting its dark cloud, we are able to have our classes in person again in the studio space. The excitement and joy that the students have had so far in our classes has been so wonderful. And it is clear the teachers have enjoyed getting back to the in person classes as well. Working side by side with their students, creating art and instilling that joy of self-expression.

SAGE will continue to expand on what we offer, and we are always open to new ideas. Visit us and see what great art adventures we can offer to you.

Jill Benson is executive director of SAGE Community Arts. 

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