Teachers and their Students Share Watershed Moments at AAWR


The conversation surrounding the benefits of art education has been in the forefront of public debate in recent years. It is rapidly becoming scientifically accepted that learning visual arts, music and dance can be instrumental in the formation of physical connections in the brain which have lasting effects on human development. Artists have always been in the vanguard of creative thinkers, and the encouragement of teachers cannot be overestimated in the formation of future generations of artists.

Under the guidance of teachers there may have been a turning point, a “watershed moment” when the world of art opened up to the student. These moments are difficult to pin point, but they do happen, and when they take place,  as William Martin Jean says, a certain energy develops that feeds that talent into a satisfying pursuit. It can be the small encouragement of a teacher who puts your work on the bulletin board or the poster contest you were prompted to successfully enter. These little things all add up to a sense of pride and confidence in your creativity and artistic abilities.

Watershed, a new exhibit curated by William Martin Jean examines the influence of three local teachers and accomplished artists, and a selection of their pupils, who became noted artists in their own rights. The teachers are W. M. Jean, Ruth Bercaw and Tom Roese. Their students are Susan Lowe, Derek Hess, Ken Nevadomi, Dexter Davis, George Kozmon, Glen Ratusnik, and Nick Taylor.

In Jean’s curatorial statement he writes, ”The development of an artist’s work goes in many directions, with many influences along the way. Sometimes these influences come early in an artist’s career, and sometimes later. We as teachers have the delightful and challenging task of attempting to open the eyes of young talent to the basic fundamentals of art and allowing them to find their own creativity. . . . Each of these artists has, in time, found their own voice, creating diverse approaches in subject and media. It is always a proud moment when teachers can reflect on the part of the road that they helped these former students travel.”



Watershed: November 12- December 19

Opening reception 5:30 – 8 pm Thursday, November 12,


Artists Archives of the Western Reserve

1834 E. 123rd St.

Cleveland Ohio 44106