Guest Art Teacher Feature: Mrs. Perry

A Creative Life, art techniques, Artist interviews and profiles, artistic inspirations, creative thinking, drawing as thinking, Guest Teacher Feature, life of the mind, mental health, On Looking At Odditorium, visual thinking

I’ve recently made a childrens book about looking at art. I think of my book as a resource book about observational skills for use by teachers and parents.

Which means as I created my On Looking At Odditorium book I also spent a lot of time thinking of the teachers, professors and other helpful adults who have been prominent in my own creative life.

So I’ve decided to guest feature teachers on my blog now and then.

The first teacher to be featured is Sami Perry from Mrs Perry’s Art Studio. Here’s our conversation:

Clancy: Hi Mrs Perry thanks for being here! What are you up to these days?

Mrs Perry: My crazy thought is to provide all 1879 Elementary schools in Washington State with 18 SEL/ART lessons for free. The SEL/ART lessons can be accessed for free through Mrs Perry’s Art Studio online library.

Clancy: Oooh! Ambitious! But wait a minute what’s SEL?

Mrs. Perry: SEL stands for Social Emotional Learning. With the release of ARP Funding -American Rescue Plan Funding- millions of dollars have been allocated to the school districts. I have been attending ARP webinars and listening to ARP podcasts. Every webinar and podcast I listen to states clearly the importance of covid recovery. They highly recommend SEL – Social Emotional Learning.

Turns out ART is all about SEL. I have been working with East Farms School Counselor, Savannah Maxwell. We are developing a SEL/ART program to address the issues students are experiencing due to the pandemic. We are developing the program for East Farms students but in addition we are adding 18 SEL/ART lessons to Mrs Perry’s Art Studio.

Creating art teaches innovation, problem solving, focus and perseverance. Perhaps more importantly, art helps students express emotion in a meaningful and positive way.

Clancy: Oh yes! I totally agree with you and I use art making as an emotional health tool in my own daily studio practice! My studio is in Western Washington you said your art studio is based in Washington state too is that right? What percentage of the schools here in Washington have art teachers on staff?

Mrs Perry: Yes, I’m on the East side of Washington state in Spokane. Only 7% of Washington Schools have an in house art instructor. In most cases if Elementary students get art it’s provided by the teachers. Mrs Perry’s Art Studio provides fine art lessons teaching OSPI art standards and most lessons can be integrated with student curriculum all designed to bring fine art to every elementary students, making it easy and convenient for the teachers, no prep, just a click of a button.

Clancy: Oh this is a wonderful project! Everyone needs art in their lives no matter how young or old so I think this is great that you’re making it so easy! But what about the art supplies needed for your lessons?

Mrs Perry: No art supplies are required, only pencil and paper is needed for every art project.

Clancy: Keeping the art supply needs simple is a great way to make learning something about art easier for everyone. There’s got to be a lot of pressure currently on teachers and students with the pandemic and distance learning. Doesn’t that add to the need for SEL?

Mrs Perry: Even though the teachers already address SEL daily in their classrooms, teachers are feeling more pressure and overwhelmed with another program to learn. Savannah and I have created the 18 lessons to benefit teachers and the students. SEL/ ART lessons are provided with a click of a button, and a big bonus, no prep.

Clancy: We’re all in this together aren’t we? Hey, can we see one of your lessons and see the kind of thing you’re doing?

Mrs Perry: How about a Monstar? It’s one of the 3 free lessons I offer:
Little Monstar is so much fun and teaches art standard for K-1st grades.
Zentangle Sea Turtle is loved by 2nd-3rd grade.
Zentangle Tree teaches art techniques and art standards for 4th-6th grade.
Zentangle is drawing style that uses patterns to help students with focus and concentration.

Here are some links:
“Little Monstar” –

Sea Turtle – Part I-

Sea Turtle – Part II-

Zentangle Tree – Part I-

Zentagle Tree – Part II –

Art lessons are divided into 2 parts to better accommodate class time availability.

Clancy: Wow! Thank you for your generosity!! These look like such fun!!
What’s your website address again and what else can you tell us about your art lessons?

Mrs Perry: Mrs Perry’s Art Studio is a professional online art lesson annual subscription, similar to Mystery Science, but teaches fine art. It is an opportunity to bring art lessons to a school at a fraction of the cost of hiring an art teacher and it makes art lessons easily accessible to all staff and students! Here’s my website

The art lessons were created by me – Sami Perry – a local Spokane Washington Artist and the Resident Artist at East Farms S.T.E.A.M. Magnet School, this flagship program has solidified the “A” for ART!

Each lesson within the online library focuses on developing imagination and creativity while building self esteem. The O.S.P.I. educational art standards are embedded within the art curriculum and is presented in a simple and easy to follow instructional medley complete with supply lists.

Mrs Perry’s Art Studio is a fine arts lesson library filled with over 50 lessons (and growing) for grades K-6th. It’s fun, it’s inspiring and it’s educational. For even more entertainment Mrs Perry’s dog Beulah teaches the art vocabulary. She’s a hit and kids listen!

Clancy: A dog!! I love dogs!! Can we see a picture of Beulah on your website?

Mrs Perry: Yes, here’s Beulah.

Clancy: Oh, what a handsome dog!!!Thanks so much for sharing all of this with me! I wish you the best of luck!! Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to leave us with?

Mrs Perry: “Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like someone else” ~ Sydney Gurewitz Clemens

20 thoughts on “Guest Art Teacher Feature: Mrs. Perry

  1. Only 7% of schools have dedicated art teachers?!?!? Wow. I am staggered. I will need to research what the percentage is in my area. I know it is a resource that many Philly schools are lacking but I would be interested to learn about the other suburbs in greater Philadelphia. All four elementaries, the middle school, and high school in our district all have at least one art teacher on staff. I have always appreciated that being the case but now I recognise what a privilege that is for my kids to be experiencing that.

    I wholeheartedly agree about art being a very important component of SEL. One of the things I explain to the grown ups of the preschoolers I teach is that our art and craft projects are about so much more than learning how to use materials or sensory exploration.

    1. Yes, it is shocking. It seems to me that whenever a budget is examined the cuts and belt tightening tend to be focused on the Arts: on art teachers and materials. Too many in power- especially when they’re of a conservative bent – tend to view the Arts as somehow frivolous or extra. When I was on the board of an arts organization in Oklahoma I would push back against this notion by asking the conservative how they learned about a product or business – was it a photo, a flyer, an advertisement? Then I would point out that all of those used arts and language skills. Sometimes that got the conservatives attention… Sometimes I made my case by asking what the conservative liked to do on weekends, vacations – often they mentioned going to movies, music events – to which I would reply with a smile that they were patrons of the arts and art supporters! (Which often shocked them as they didn’t consider themselves as having any connection to the Arts). Likewise when I worked with Okla tourism and city organizers… I would emphasize that tourists and businesses come to an area where there are things to do and see like music events or sculpture gardens. All of the arts are in all facets of human life because humans are storytellers, rhythm makers and symbol users. So we might as well help elementary school kids learn how to be the best human language and symbol users they can be! Occasionally an Oklahoma art teachers budget was *not* cut!!
      So I’m trying to participate in, to help or at least applaud Washington state arts and the teachers too.
      Anyway when it comes to supporting the Arts I’ll take whatever small wins happen!

      I’m so glad you and your kids have art in your lives and have had art teachers!!! So glad I know you!! ❤ Thank you for your comment!!

      1. Reading this interview and watching Mrs. Perry’s introductory video on her website made me miss working with education majors, most of whom were in special ed. They would have loved Mrs. Perry’s approach to art and the free lessons as well.

        1. Thank you for your kind comment!! I totally agree – special ed teachers really could make good use of Mrs Perry’s approach! Here’s hoping that education majors can find Mrs Perry 🤗 – that’s why I shared here on my blog and hope it will get shared further.

    2. Thank you for your knowledge of understanding the importance of art instruction in all grade levels. It makes a huge difference in a child’s education.

  2. Observing Mrs Perry’s instructional style is heartwarming. The children light up and don’t miss a beat. The elements of art are stressed in such an open ended way that opens the doors of each child’s mind. She is an amazing art coach who is able to bring out the best in each child.

  3. I absolutely love the final quote! Giving space for self-expression in education and in life seems key to well-rounded individuals and to a diverse and strong society. So often children are told what to think, it’s wonderful to see a focus on encouraging them to think for themselves.

    1. So often, with new students, I will get asked, “Is it okay if I add (?) to my art” I then ask, “who is the artist?” they will reply and say “me”. I will remind them artists make the decisions on what to add to their art….and whatever the decision is made is the right answer. Giving a student the freedom to think for themselves builds self esteem, confidence and creativity. It doesn’t take long for my students to know they never have to ask me if it’s okay to make changes to their art, rather they love sharing their ideas. Thanks for your comment.

      1. Even when I have taught art to adults I have been asked “is it okay if I do it this way..”. The best art teachers I had were the ones who said something like “there are as many ways to paint as there are people. I’m going to show you my way because that’s what I know. Feel free to expand upon and experiment with what I show you.” So, yes! It’s really okay if you do it the way that works for you!

      2. Wonderful! I was fortunate to have such experiences and support in creative pursuits when I was young. Such encouragement has been huge in bringing me to be a confident woman with plenty of encouragement to give to others. Art enriches my life every day, and the lives of those around me. I can’t (and wouldn’t want to) stop creating. Thanks for the work you do Sami and Sue!

        1. Oh I am glad to see your comment!! I am delighted that you feel this way and that you are who you are!! Thank you for your support and encouragement!!! ❤

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!