Spring Valley Academy Teacher Uses Art to Introduce Students to Creator
Story by Heidi Shoemaker / Photos by Hollie Macomber
Walk into Shona Macomber’s classroom at Spring Valley Academy (SVA) in Kettering, Ohio, and one is transported into an artist’s paradise: bright open space, skylights, soft music and students intently working on projects—from pastels to pottery. Inside students are overheard saying, “This is my favorite class of the week!” while others stop to admire displays outside her classroom.
Few Seventh-day Adventist schools offer art programs, but SVA, with the support of Kettering Adventist HealthCare “has chosen to invest in an art program to unleash creativity in kids grades 1-12,” says Connie Cole, Macomber’s assistant. In a world where academic performance is accentuated, Macomber’s class offers a complementary balance using a different side of the brain while incorporating a distinctive spiritual element.
The class is considered so unique because of Macomber’s use of a curriculum she developed based upon the seven days of creation from Genesis 1. “It is my hope to introduce upcoming generations to new ways of seeing their Creator God through the joy of artistic expression,” she explains.
Macomber begins by teaching students to become aware of their natural world. Noting that children are greatly bombarded today by media and electronics, she says, “We’re battling for the souls of our kids, and I’m using art to do my part of the battle.” Posted in her classroom is the mantra “Believe Your Eyes.” Macomber explains, “Art teaches them how to see truth, not how to draw, though that comes in time.”
A professional artist, Maycomber established a considerable following in her native California. While there she prayed for God to give her art “lessons” to allow her to see His world differently. She soon began seeing a sequence of order, which she wrote down. It was then she realized she could teach this, and not long after received the call to SVA.
Using creation to teach students, she says, “Day one is the most essential.” When God commands for there to be light, she says, from an artistic standpoint, God is asking us to see Him: I am light … let there be an illumination of who I am, she says, paragraphing Gen. 1:3-5. Days two through six have their own correlations. Macomber associates the seventh-day with the Artist. “The artist is not complete as an artist until they’ve shared what they’ve made with someone else,” she says. “On Sabbath we experience and share God’s creation, and live and enjoy the beauty of all He’s created.”
A recent post by her daughter, Hollie, on Facebook garnered hundreds of likes from parents and friends: “For the past few years, she has poured out her insight and immense knowledge on art, creativity and Christ to the students at SVA.” She adds, “Dear parents, school board members and school administrators, a school art program is invaluable to a school. It is essential it is to teach kids how to see and think creatively. Please, please, please see the value in programs like this.”