Meet Nellie Mitchell

What is your role in this exhibit? How are you participating?

I’m sort of an intermediary…I am bringing hundreds of middle school students to the gallery each week in June and they are interacting with the artwork through a special gallery guide that I created. Also, some of my students have paintings on display. My summer school class is creating artwork based on the iconic image of Abraham Lincoln and their work is being incorporated into the exhibit “Finding Lincoln” each week.

Is making and teaching art really work for you, or is it play? Why? Why even engage in the arts?

Making art can be play, but teaching art is definitely work. Sometimes it’s hard for me to turn my brain off; I get a little obsessed with a unit and I’m constantly collecting information and resources to share with my students. Planning a successful art experience for my students requires me to understand timing, age appropriateness, and also a certain amount of patience. It is about giving students all the tools they need to be successful and learn. And that art can be fun, but it is definitely work.

What is your perception of the ArtWorkers exhibit and your involvement in it so far?

The ArtWorkers exhibit is a very interactive experience for the viewer. This is my favorite kind of exhibit. I’m so excited that my students have a chance to go to Spiva for this field trip, and I’m so proud of the paintings that were chosen to be part of the show.

Any advice for future ArtWorkers?

Pushing the boundaries, exploring symbolic American imagery is a powerful idea.


Painted Lincolns: 4-6 grade at Webb City Middle School

Students used a variety of sources as inspiration. Some designed a bobble head on an iPad of Abraham Lincoln as the source for their painting.

To read more about Nellie’s project, please visit: 


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