Carole Huls has been an art teacher at Davis High School for almost 40 years. She teaches beginning, advanced and international baccalaureate classes. Huls showcases her students’ art in shows at the school and submits them for the annual Educational Service District 105 Regional High School Art Show each spring. Her students routinely win awards at that show, and several of her students earned awards in the 2021 art show, which this year can be viewed online at www.esd105.org/2021ArtShow.
She is inspirational and sees the artistic potential in every student, even if they don’t see it in themselves.
Q: Has the influx of political and social events affected your students’ art?
A: “I am an art teacher who likes kids to see the good in the world and express that, because I feel there is enough bad around us all the time. They can express that in their art journals and they can express it anywhere, but sometimes when we are painting dark things we don’t feel good inside, and to me art is about expressing yourself in positive ways and bringing those experiences to the viewer. That has always been how I teach. When we have art shows, people come in and it’s like they’re at a feast, this visual feast, because it is very uplifting, and so I’ve always encouraged students to do uplifting things.”
Q: What is the biggest struggle of teaching art online?
A: “I just miss being able to go around to your tables and I haven’t been able to really paint with kids. The advanced kids are a little bit more on their own and they’ve learned those basics. But my beginning kids, I’ve never felt like I could teach kids in a quarter. I’d love to have the beginning class for a year.”
Q: You have a twin sister who is also an artist. Was there competition between you two growing up?
A: “My parents tried to find all these niches that we were good at and all of us were pretty artistic because of our aunt, who was a painter. I started with oil paints and started learning from there. Sheryl, my twin, just didn’t have any other interests. I was into lots of other things, and so she was the one who my parents pushed toward art. I don’t think I felt competitive with her at all, not in the artistic way. But I woke up in high school to my passion for art and I really never thought when I graduated from high school that I would become an art teacher.”
Q: How has art benefited your life or students?
A: “It has just enriched my life. Art was my love in the beginning. It was feeling like I could make a difference with kids before they go out into the world. This could be something that when they get into college and it’s just stress, they could get their sketchbook out and unwind. I always feel like the more skills kids have, the more enjoyable. There have been very few days that I have not felt pure joy for what I teach.”