Maria Hoover is a mom, an artist, and a teacher from Stevensville, Pa. She is the owner of Art on A Mission as well as the art teacher at North Rome Christian School, North Rome, Pa. Her business is a paint party business, where she teaches even those who don’t consider themselves artists how to paint and get in touch with their artistic side.
She has also been one of my best friend’s since seventh grade when we connected over a certain popular boy band from the late 80s/early 90s.
Thank you, Maria for being part of this week’s Tell Me More About . . . feature
Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in small town, Northeast Pennsylvania in a family of 7 counting my parents. I married my best friend in May of 2006 and bought a house the next month. Nine months later we welcomed our only child to this world. Being a wife and mom are the best things that have ever happened to me, daily it brings challenges, but it’s my best sense of security I can feel from another human. Although my full security rests in my God. Growing my relationship with Him is my biggest interest. He has brought me from places I never realized I was in, until He opened my eyes to His Love. I owe Him my life of service, and serving Him is my daily goal. I also love to cook, garden, and paint.
How did you become interested in art?
I have always drawn from a very young age, but my interest came when I was in elementary school art class. My teachers had always encouraged me, and complimented me on my ability. In first or second grade I decided I wanted to be an art teacher. Art was my favorite subject all through high school, I took as many art classes I could. After graduation I began working, and left behind my love of art. Getting an apartment, working, cleaning, a boyfriend, pets, shopping. That all stepped into my life and my art took a backseat.
For years I didn’t touch an art medium. The most a drew was maybe a doodle here or there while I was on the phone. I let the business of life take over and I lost who I was as a person in all of the demands of life. After I had my son, I was able to be home with him, and I started day dreaming about the enjoyment I had when I would ART. The relaxing effects it would have on me. The satisfaction of creating something that was pleasing to the eye. It was the one thing in my life I was proud of my self for, yet even a couple more years went by before I began to create again.
When Isaiah was 2, I started him with crayons and watercolors. it was a favorite thing for us to do together. He would scribble, I would draw basic pictures, teaching him colors and shapes. As he grew we began to make crafts and our mediums went from crayons to fingerprint and markers. Still in the basics of it all, the God that I had just made room for in my life just four years earlier was slowly returning a love that I had left behind. Because He had a much bigger plan for it than I knew.
How did you become an art teacher?
As I said earlier, in elementary school I wanted to become an art teacher – a preschool art teacher. In my innocence I didn’t realize preschool kids didn’t need an art teacher, but they mainly had one teacher that did everything with them. As I approached 11th grade, I daydreamed about going to an art college, but with lack of funding, not knowing anything about grants and a fear to leave my family, I quickly dismissed college.. And with a family who lacked in the encouragement I never pursued it even as I grew older.
At one point my mother said, “I wish you would have went to college for your art.” Because of my personality, I took that as “I am a disappointment” so art took an extreme back burner. After the summer off following graduation, I stepped into the work force. I worked at restaurants, and our local meat packing plant. There is where I met my husband. For six years art was forgotten.
And then, with the passing of my mother, depression, working, dating, and so many things that made my life busy, I honestly forgot who I was. Then I had a meeting with a God who revealed to me that I had a purpose, and that I am loved. Then came marriage and a baby in a baby carriage, and still no art. But God had sparked a longing in my heart. I started daydreaming now and then, about having my own studio, about painting or drawing but still no ART.
We began attending a church just before we got married. Six years after I began attending, I was helping with vacation Bible school, and quickly became the artist of the production. It was great! I helped others draw and paint backdrops, I created trees out of paper. For 4 years I helped transform our church every summer into another world. As people began to see my ability, one family in particular, had three girls that attended a Christian school and the oldest girl told me one day that I should come teach at their school, that they needed an art teacher. At the time I laughed it off. In my insecurity I told myself I couldn’t teach art. I didn’t go to school for teaching. I only remembered how much I loved art. How could I possibly be an art teacher?
The thought crossed my mind often in the next few months. “I couldn’t be an art teacher”, became “Could I be an art teacher?”. The school year began with Isaiah started kindergarten, and I was babysitting while he was at school at the same Christian school. As I continued to question if I could even be an art teacher, God was positioning me to do just that. I was offered a job driving the very school van that took Isaiah to and from school. I accepted it, opening up the entire day at the very school I was delivering kids to every day. Not long after I took on that job as a school van driver, I also accepted the position of art teacher at North Rome, and here I am 5 years later, doing the exact thing I said I could never do.
That’s what happens when God has a plan for you, and you don’t believe it.
What medium do I enjoy the most, and why?
I enjoy every medium I have been able to experience.. Watercolor and pen and ink together are a favorite but I would have to say acrylic paint has to be my most favorite right now. I had never got to work with it too much until recently, and I have found it challenging, yet the finished product is beautiful. I have learned so many new techniques, and love teaching it to my students.
What other activities do you enjoy?
I think my favorite pass time is being with Quentin and Isaiah doing something fun. We have recently began kayaking together, and we enjoy it so much. I also like gardening. It’s so rewarding when the flowers are full and beautiful, and the vegetables are part of your dinner table, (if you have been able to ward off the weeds.) I also like entertaining, having friends and family over, campfires and fellowship.
How important is art to a child’s education?
I believe art is essential to a child’s education. Especially those children who express themselves with the product of their hands. Art comes in so many forms and every one of them are essential. I think when a person does not have the ability to Art, rather it be drawing, painting, sculpting, constructing, photography, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, theater,..they loose who they really are and then are unable to live out their purpose God has created them for.
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