Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bob Dunning: Perkes inspires hundreds of young artists


From page A2 | March 29, 2013 |

SPEAKING OF GIFTED AND TALENTED … although she’s no longer a teacher, having retired from the Davis school system several years ago, Barbara Perkes still contributes mightily to the education of Davis schoolchildren … yes, Barbara instructs local second- and-third graders in the finer points of art three afternoons a week and no kid wants to miss school on the days Mrs. Perkes is there … our family alone has been fortunate to have four children become enthusiastic about art as a direct result of the efforts, talent and enthusiasm of Barbara Perkes … she has introduced these young minds to many artists and many styles, though Andy Warhol and Wayne Thiebaud seem to dominate the themes our kids have brought home to hang on the walls or sometimes the refrigerator …

“Her passion is art,” explains North Davis teacher Kurt Yeaman … “She always dresses the part related to the artist and brings lots of examples of their work. She does it all on her own, never asking for anything. The kids really enjoy it and look forward to the days that she comes.” … former teacher Joan Reed says she learned as much from Barbara as did her students … “Barbara is a gem,” Reed notes … “Upon her retirement, she began offering her love of teaching art to many primary classes by volunteering on a regular basis. She does a remarkable job of teaching about famous artists as she highlights their techniques in the projects she presents. Her Louis Comfort Tiffany jack-o-lanterns, Frida Kahlo portraits and Wayne Thiebaud-inspired drawings were among the many favorite lessons she taught.” …

Second-grader Mickey D. says Mrs. Perkes brings a lot of variety to her art lessons and “makes art interesting and fun.” … adds NDE second-grade teacher Laureen Ginn: “Barbara has been an incredible inspiration to me and my students and I feel lucky to have her. She tirelessly dedicates herself to students three afternoons a week to spread the joy of learning about famous artists and art techniques. We have been very fortunate to have Mrs. Perkes share her enthusiasm of art with us, spreading little seeds to foster a growing love of art in our students.” …

If what hangs on the walls of our living room and kitchen are any indication, Barbara’s love of art has spread dramatically to the kids in this household, and many other Davis households as well …

WORDS OF WISDOM … responding to my comments about a toad tunnel in Wales that is used as infrequently by toads as our own world-famous toad tunnel, Jeff writes to say that “The toad tunnel embargo that Llandrindod and Davis have endured needs a creative solution: widen the toad tunnel to say, about 30 times its present diameter, and then divert motor vehicle traffic through it while closing the roadway to all but toad traffic.” … clearly a workable solution, Jeff … than again, all that corrugated pipe might be useful for carrying water from the Mighty Sacramento to Davis dishwashers …

EDUCATION THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY … longtime Davisite John reacted quickly to my statement that there “wasn’t a GATE program” when the Above-Pictured Columnist was attending elementary school on Anderson Road … “Was there not a HAPS (High Achievement Potential Students) program, the predecessor of GATE, at that time? I know one existed when my older brother was in fifth and sixth grade, and he was two years behind you in school.” …

Trust me, John, no one was behind me in school … I was always last in the class … as for fifth grade at West Davis Elementary, I spent most of my time sitting at the back of Miss Montgomery’s classroom sorting through my baseball cards and deciding which ones might look good attached with a clothes pin to the spokes of my ’56 Schwinn …

— Reach Bob Dunning at





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