New art teacher seeks to inspire students to find their style through art


Sydney Gadberry

New art teacher Valeria Mayoral works with senior Chance Neese.

The artistic energy of the room is chaotic while people pass by the classroom doors. Students are scattered about, leaning towards their easels while a woman walks around to the sway of calming music to improve focus and guides each student, helping to perfect their masterpieces. She leads them through their studies and watches as the next greatest pieces of art develop.

West Texas A&M University graduate Valeria Mayoral became the new art teacher in the spring semester after former art teacher Linda Podzemny’s departure. Prior to teaching at Canyon High, Mayoral student taught at Caprock High School. Growing up, Mayoral attended Bowie Middle School and Caprock High. Mayoral was involved in art competitions throughout high school but said she did not decide to pursue art until after her first year of college.

“I wasn’t interested in teaching art yet,” Mayoral said. “I primarily wanted to be a teacher, and I didn’t think about what I wanted to do teaching-wise until later on. Teaching was already something I wanted to do, so being an art teacher was a great way to implement art into teaching.”

Being an art teacher was a great way to implement art into teaching.

— Valeria Mayoral, Art Teacher

Mayoral said she wants to implement what she has learned as she creates a strong art department at Canyon High.

“I’m starting to talk to the principal and the assistant principal about getting kids more involved,” Mayoral said. “That way they can get scholarships. I see a lot of potential in my Art 1 students and already have a few say they want to pursue graphic design or some other art career.”

Mayoral teaches three different art classes: Art I, Painting and Drawing. Students interested in the program are required to take a year of Art I before they move on to Painting or Drawing.

“In Art I, students are usually going to get the basics, so it’s mostly vocabulary,” Mayoral said. “Once they get into painting and drawing, I really push teaching them about art history and make sure they are not copying what other artists do, but mimicking their style. I want them to do something they are comfortable with but also find their style.”

Mayoral said she inspires her students to find their personal style through art history and examples of different famous painting.

“I don’t want them to look up stuff and then completely 100 percent copy what’s on there,” Mayoral said. “In my painting class, we are experimenting and doing different kinds of paintings. We’ve done still life before, and they really enjoy that one. I feel like it also helps them establish what they learned in Art I.”

I want them to do something they are comfortable with but also find their style.

— Valeria Mayoral, Art Teacher

Mayoral said art is something she will pursue for the rest of her life.

“I have a lot of appreciation for the traditional historical artwork, and then also architecture and abstract paintings,” Mayoral said. “I pretty much appreciate most art.”

Mayoral said art is something she enjoys doing, and she hopes students enjoy it and also learn the academic language of art.

“It’s something I want to do in the long run, even after I retire from teaching,” Mayoral said. “It’s something I want to pursue lifelong, not just as being an art teacher but also doing my own work outside of here.”