Neillsville Sees New Opportunities for Art
(OnFocus) A familiar face to the Marshfield art scene can now be seen in the halls of Neillsville schools.
Adam Smrcka, formerly Executive Director of the Chestnut Center for the Arts, is starting his next chapter — or sketchbook page — as an art teacher for the Neillsville School District.
“I’m super excited to not only be teaching, but I’m lucky enough to be able to teach students from 7th grade to senior year,” he said.
While leading the nonprofit Chestnut Center, Smrcka organized events from concerts to workshops and oversaw day-to-day operations. Due to budget constraints, his 6-year position was cut in May.
“I’m the type of person that believes things happen for a reason, and now I got back on my feet and landed in Neillsville,” he said. “The people there are amazing and have welcomed me with open arms.”
He’ll bring 18 years of experience of teaching art to the public school system, a “natural progression” for his career and a path he’s passionate to start. Smrka spent the last few weeks giving his new classroom a facelift to make it a creative space for students while dreaming of all the potential projects they can accomplish in the coming year.
“It’s going to be an exciting opportunity for me to expose these students to different medias and different ways of expressing themselves,” he said. “Art is a way to communicate your emotions and thoughts, and I think it’s vitally important nowadays with everything that’s going on to be able to use art as an avenue to be expressive and also possibly a form of healing.”
With his professional background, Smrcka will be able to provide guidance to high school students who might be considering art as a career path. But whether or not that’s the student’s goal, he believes that art education can go beyond just pottery techniques to teach students about being impactful in their community.
Exemplifying that lesson, Smrcka is already looking to jumpstart new art events and activities in the Neillsville community and bring programming to its new outdoor stage in a similar way to the Wenzel Family Plaza in Marshfield.
“There’s some great awesome collaborative opportunities here in Neillsville that I’m excited to be working on with both teachers and the city itself,” he said. “I’m going to be working with some instructors in the community to start something very similar here in Neillsville and have it be connected to the curriculum that we’re teaching and the art club at the high school.”
He also hopes to provide continuing education opportunities through his pottery business, Field Creek Pottery, which he relocated to Neillsville, and to work with the local art center. The possibilities are endless.
“My main goal for any job that I have is to be able to make a difference for the individuals in the community, or the community itself,” Smrcka said. “I’m excited for this opportunity to be constantly teaching and involved.”