She speaks soft and delicate, but certain; to a crowded room of gallery-goers as she introduces the featured student artist at each LB art show.
Anne Magratten, art teacher and mentor for the student gallery coordinators here at LBCC, is more than just a teacher, she’s a mentor. Her soft-spoken voice and kind verbal depictions of student art at the beginning of every campus art show will leave you wishing that you had taken one of her art classes.
The 2016 — 2017 school year is Magratten’s first year teaching full-time, but she does more than just teach. As a first year teacher, she’s brought her A game to LB. Not only does she coordinate and oversee each campus student art show, she hosts them as well.
Magratten first began her journey with schooling at Mendocino Community College in Northern California, after which she then transferred to Mills, which is a women’s college in Oakland, California.
“I nearly attended a private art college but decided I wanted stronger academic options and a feminist education. Their art department was fantastic and I graduated with a BA in painting,” said Magratten.
After a few years of having her bachelor’s degree, Magratten applied to the University of Oregon Masters in Fine Art program.
“They offer a three-year MFA and many people asked why I selected such a long path,” she said, “They gave us these light-filled, lofty studios and I knew I wanted to spend three years in there painting!”
Magratten, an artist at heart, taught and worked at other schools which include: Mendocino Community College, University of Oregon, Chemeketa Community College, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene.
“Before that I worked any job that gave me enough time to paint,” she said.
Once she finished school, the decision to become an art teacher wasn’t too far out of reach, or desire.
“Art has enriched my life in such profound ways and I want to share that,” she said. “I don’t believe people are born artists but that it is a combination; something like this that makes an artist: hard work, 70 percent; plus desire, 15 percent; plus willingness to fail, 10 percent; plus experimentation, 5 percent. It is a fictional and adjustable formula but my point is that anyone can take part in art to their own fulfillment.”
Throughout her schooling, Magratten has experienced many different mentors that have inspired her to be the best that she can be in her field.
“I think artists have mentors for their whole lives. I have been gifted with wonderful mentors and I have tried to incorporate the best parts of their teaching into my classes and art,” she said.
Magratten’s inspiration is not only derived from her mentors and the art that she creates in her off-time, but also by her students that leave her with a rewarding feeling.
“It is tantalizing to see so many different outcomes. I love that when I assign a project there is no actual ‘correct’ answer. Students regularly amaze me with what they think up and make. It is powerful to watch someone take an idea (one they might feel insecure or unsure of) and actualize it as art. I feel tremendously lucky to be a part of that,” she said.
Some aspects of Magratten’s job aren’t always the easiest for her, though, and she faces everyday struggles.
“I’m actually tremendously shy. Teaching involves a great deal of public speaking. It is simply wanting to share my subject with others that allows me to overcome this,” she said.
Aside from her shyness, Magratten is also dyslexic, which has been an obstacle throughout her life.
“I was afraid other people wouldn’t want to work with me because I would appear careless or incapable. Socially, we have come a long way with how learning is conceptualized and now I feel less self-conscious.”
Outside of Magratten’s personal struggles, one of the hardest parts of her job is seeing students struggle.
“There are times that I see students who are brilliant, who fail to see their own potential,” she continues, “There is heartbreak in watching anyone struggle. I try to connect students with resources and assist them in seeing their value. LBCC is enriched by the diversity each student brings and we can’t afford to miss out on anyone.”
In her spare time, Magratten loves to practice painting, drawing, photography, and book arts in her personal studio.
“I work in my studio; I feel most alive when I’m working,” she said. “I’m part of a strangely renegade artist collective in Eugene called Tropical Contemporary.”
Although art is Magratten’s passion, it’s not the only thing that fills her heart with joy.
“I adore hiking with my wife and dog, lounging in hot springs, and traveling with friends. I also love reading while drinking coffee, watching people sleep, and eating fresh zucchini.”
Story and Photo by Samantha Guy