Las Vegas is known to draw international tourists but has recently been drawing art enthusiasts as well. Art galleries throughout Sin City are reporting increased traffic and sales. The University of Las Vegas Art Galleries director Jerry Schefcik credits the creativity of hotel design for infusing art into Las Vegas culture, but the art featured in galleries goes far beyond casino kitsch. Schefcik says, “…the overall art scene in Vegas is growing because it attracts artists who think outside the box.”
One Las Vegas artist and art educator who fits this description is Liza Amor. She uses out of the box ideas to ensure her students’ artwork is seen and appreciated.
From a young age Liza was drawn to art. At four years old, drawing was one of her favorite pastimes. And as one of Liza’s favorite adages goes, “Practice makes perfect.” By the time she was looking to attend college, Liza had talent that could take her places. She was able to attend State University of New York at Buffalo.
While in college, Liza was greatly impacted by an after school art program she assisted with. Recognizing the importance of art education encouraged her career path and put her on a professional mission.
Today, Liza lives in Las Vegas and believes it is important for the community to see what happens in the art room. When people realize how valuable art education is, there is a higher chance (despite devastating budget cuts) art classes will remain in public schools.
To accomplish this, Liza partners with local galleries, like City of the World gallery, to see that her students’ artwork is showcased throughout Las Vegas. She also makes work available online through the virtual art gallery, Artsonia. This allows students to share their art with family members beyond Nevada’s borders.
Her students are encouraged by having their art showcased. They are proud to post their work and appreciative to have such opportunities. “There is a big difference when you believe in them,” says Liza. When preparing them for their exhibits, she impresses the importance of this honor, telling them that they are representing themselves and their school.
After putting on annual art shows for her students, serving on the board of Art Educators of Nevada and displaying her own work throughout Las Vegas, Liza Amor was awarded National Art Education Association’s 2014 Nevada Art Educator of the Year. Beyond her talent and teaching skills, Liza is showing Las Vegas the value of art education. Right now she is on top of a cutting edge art scene and the world is beginning to take notice.
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