ARCC Cultural Arts Program Coordinator Lois Beckner coordinates and teaches art classes at the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center, runs the ARCC Gallery, and is an active member of the Artworks Cooperative in the Lakewood Mall. Amidst all this, she still finds the time to create her own artistic work.
Lois’s life dedicated to art started with an interest in paint-by-number kits when she was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania. In graduate school at West Virginia University, she was the teaching assistant for the newly formed Children’s Art Studio, as well as the satellite teacher for a community class in Pennsylvania. In 1988, after relocating to Aberdeen, Lois started at the ARCC, teaching children’s art classes such as the summer Discovery course. Since then, she has taught art to all ages and abilities and was given the title of Program Coordinator in 1993.
One talent that helps Lois to keep art available and affordable for all, aside from her artistic ability, is her knack for being resourceful. “My philosophy for creating is, ‘well, what can I do with this; or, this reminds me of ___; or, let’s have some fun!’ I was always an imaginative and inventive kid. When my dad renovated an old school house into our home, I would visit the junk-pile of heating radiators, pipe, plumbing and etcetera and make stuff out of it. One time I made a miniature golf course to cover the entire acre of back yard we had!”
Lois’s teaching philosophy has evolved over the years. She used to be concerned more with the knowledge and skills her students could develop. Now, she’s realized, “It is more about the experience – the joy and the love of creation – no matter what the end product may look like.” She wants the process to be fun for her students. “Skill comes from practice; if someone likes doing what they do, they become better at it in their own time, not mine,” she says.