Monday was International Women’s Day and March is Women's History Month, a day to celebrate the amazing women in our lives who inspire us to continuously learn and grow. I am taking today to celebrate my mom, but most of you will know her as Miss Jody.
I should really start by saying my mom had no idea I was writing this. She probably would have tried to steer me in another direction, but who better to talk about when we think of inspiring and uplifting women!
Miss Jody at an outdoor art show with her prints in the background.
Miss Jody in her home studio in New Hope, PA.
Now, let’s get to know my mom and the path that led her to The Art Studio.
My mom, Miss Jody grew up in a family with a deep appreciation and passion for the arts. It began with her Nanan, her paternal grandmother, and her joy for painting. My mom's dad was in junior high when his mom, Nanan, painted the painting below outside in the summer. After watching his mother paint, my Pop Pop, Lance, asked to give it a try, and the rest is history! Today he is a painter who got his degree from Penn State, the same school her mom, Arlene Hummel went to. While some families can feel hesitant when they accept their child’s decision to go to school for art, my moms embraced it.
Nanan's painting that inspired 3 generations of artists.
Miss Jody with her mom and dad at her Penn State graduation.
Miss Jody with her Nanan in at the Ocean City Boardwalk Art Competition.
Miss Jody started her college journey at TCNJ before making her way to Penn State. While there she found her artistic passion in the printmaking shop. The use of texture, line, and shape rendered in bold black and white became her trademark. People would often tell my mom that the darkness of her work seemed to really contrast her bubbly and friendly personality. I believe it shows how multidimensional she is and her grasp and perception on the world around her, the light and the darkness.
Miss Jody at college and various art shows throughout her college years.
While at Penn State, Miss Jody studied abroad with the Temple Rome program in Rome Italy. It is here where she met my dad, George Wiker, an architecture student. During her time in Rome, Miss Jody found her partner and a greater understanding of her own artwork. The light refracting and bending across the ancient ruins became a central abstracted theme in her collagraphs. You can see below some of the photographs she took during her semester abroad that have inspired her work.
Click through the slideshow to see where my mom found her inspiration.
Miss Jody and her husband, my dad, George, in Rome, Italy.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and a minor in Art History, Miss Jody didn’t want her passion for the arts to stay with in the confines of her own creative space. With that in mind, she pursued and completed her Masters in Art Education from Tyler School of Art at Temple University.
In 2000, Miss Jody got the opportunity to buy Wild Dreams Art Studio, what we know as The Art Studio today. Over the course of 20 years, Miss Jody took what started out as a small studio and expanding it to make fine arts accessible and affordable to children all across our area. Her passion for teaching and working with children is evident from the minute you walk into The Art Studio.
My mom with my sister, Abbey, and I outside the future The Art Studio in 2000.
The inside of The Art Studio in 2000.
Miss Jody opened The Art Studio under the philosophy that “Students should have a good time, feel good about themselves, and feel good about their art.” She allowed The Art Studio to be a space where independent creativity could flourish and children’s independent thought was translated into the variety of mediums they created in. At The Art Studio, the students direct and determine their artistic path with the continued guidance and dynamic lessons made by Miss Jody.
I still find it amazing that after 20 years, my mom continues to find new projects, new ideas, and new sources of inspiration which are translated into lessons that turn into beautiful projects created by her students.
One of the first Annual The Art Studio Art Shows held in Vaughn Hall about 20 years ago.
20 years of Abbey and me serving punch at the refreshment table at the Annual The Art Studio Art Show.
Miss Jody’s journey to The Art Studio began with her passion for creating art and her desire to spread that love to those around her. We are excited to see her continue to spread her love for the arts into the community and spill back into her own artistic endeavors.
Happy International Women’s Day and Women's History Month to all the amazing women around the world who continue to inspire, dream, and make each day better for those around her, Happy International Women’s Day to my mom, Miss Jody!