Fremont counselor wins arts council grant
As a school counselor, Nanette Oleson has always encouraged her students to have a creative outlet. However, it was not until last summer that she discovered her own talent for painting.
“I never had the opportunity in school for that kind of experience,” she explained. “To me, it was absolutely phenomenal that someone with my shaky hands and limited drawing ability could create something inspiring.”
She further developed that talent this month in Arizona at a workshop by artist Joe Anna Arnett.
“I became interested in her when I was looking at a book in the library,” Oleson said. “I thought, if there was ever anybody I would want to emulate, it would be her.”
A grant through the Nevada Arts Council made it possible for her to attend the Jan. 5 workshop.
“I have another level of expertise and certainly an enthusiasm that will carry over to our students and, hopefully, our community,” she said.
She fears the emphasis on the federal No Child Left Behind Act may push art out of the schools.
“I take No Child Left Behind to mean every child should have the opportunity to be successful in their own area of giftedness,” she said. “That’s not always academic. It’s my role as a school counselor to help everybody find what their niche is and be successful in it.”
Although she recognizes the value of academic education, she said it cannot replace art. She has organized various creative projects at the school, from drawing and painting to drama and writing.
“There is something so empowering about the creative process,” she said. “Self-confidence really comes from being able to achieve and create. Art, in the broad sense of the word, really transcends a lot of academic and self-imposed barriers.”
Oleson began her career in the Carson City School District in 1980 as a special-education teacher.
But she felt she could help more students in a deeper way as a counselor so she switched jobs in 1988.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I want kids to find their place in life, whatever that is, and to love it. I think that is a gift.”
She is married to Ted Oleson. Their daughters are Caity, 9, and Kirsten, 5.
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.