Nash reminisces on her growth after 33 years

May 9, 2018

A “19 something” Valiant car pulled in to the St. Paul Academy and Summit School parking lot. As she parked, Nash placed a piece of cardboard under the car because it was leaking oil. As a working artist, amenities like fancy cars weren’t affordable for US Fine Arts teacher Marty Nash. Nash didn’t want the oil to stain the pavement, especially on her first day. The year was 1985.

The first day turned into weeks and weeks became years, but Nash still struggled at the beginning. By then, she had stopped her house painting business as she became a full-time teacher. Being the youngest carried challenges. The array of personalities were, at times, overwhelming. “It’s a very active place,” she said. But, watching tentative strokes seldom failed to provoke a sense of reward.

Timeline credit: Web Lehmann

While students came and went, Nash continued to hone in on her craft. It is because of this, that Nash has been able to eloquently understand the tumultuous journey many student artists face. Every teacher that is currently in the Art Department at SPA is a working artist. This mantra speaks to Nash. Teaching and practicing art permits teachers’ understanding of struggling with the creative process.

The ethereal quietness of the art wing became her enclave, a place for her and her students to escape to for the sake of creating. The atmosphere is generally quiet by Nash’s design.

“I don’t want to impose anything on them. Unless, of course, I’m playing music in the class for a purpose,” Nash said.

Many students recognize Nash as a cool subdued personality. However, many find joy in her hidden warmth:

“Nash really pushes me to explore my artistic abilities, and she wants me to grow. I like to give her hugs a lot,” senior and Art Seminar student Dina Moradian said.

Reminiscence leads Nash to believe she will miss the students she has watched grow the past 33 years. As she leaves the parking lot at the end of the year, Nash will drive away from SPA, leaving not a stain, but an imprint behind.

The Rubicon Archives 2007
The Arts Department circa 2007. US Art teacher Marty Nash stands in the top right.
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