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Delightful Creations in Outdoor Spaces

5/25/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Albert Einstein wrote, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Few professions take on the responsibility of developing the foundation for “creative expression and knowledge” more than the nation’s art teachers.  These gifted individuals harness multidimensional minds, connect left to right brain, and create an open and accepting environment for our children to flourish. Jenifer Oberle, local art teacher and artist, has led hundreds of children though the forest to their own creativity. In turn, she has emerged with an understanding and passion for her own artistic expression and journey.

Jenifer grew up in Franklin, Ohio. Her parents, both musicians, nurtured a deep appreciation for the arts and encouraged their children to explore their own creative thinking and personal expression. Jenifer, from the beginning, loved to draw, paint, and sculpt. By the age of 12, she began taking children’s oil painting classes, advancing into the adult classes by age 15. Well on her way in making her mark on the diverse world of artists, Jenifer enrolled at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she completed her Bachelors degree in Art Education. After graduation, she entered the teaching field as an art educator and the better part of the next 30 years was a balancing act between “creative artist” and “creative teacher.”

Ten years ago, Jenifer and her husband moved to Arizona full time to enjoy our gorgeous climate and pursue her art full time. She found her passion in hand built clay forms, but soon graduated to perfecting her talents using the potter’s wheel under the direction of ceramic artist Peter Flynn. Jenifer now rents studio space, close to her home, at Wham Gallery and Studios in Surprise, Arizona. She loves the fact the facilities at Wham include studio space for 14 artists, all working in a variety of media, a gallery for exhibitions, and classrooms where artists can share their talents with the community. Jenifer also enjoys the communal aspect of sharing and collaborating with other artists that also work in the space.

Although Jenifer makes pottery for the indoor, she is more inspired by the brilliant desert florals in Arizona gardens, taking that inspiration into sculptural ceramics. She loves to experiment with natural stains, adding jewel tones for the unexpected Southwest desert “pop.” Jenifer’s pieces can be seen at the Wham Gallery and the Sun City Grand Community Studio, where she teaches clay classes. During November 2015, she participated in the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League. November 2016 you will find Jenifer with the Nicolette Bonnstetter Studio in north Scottsdale.

Between gallery shows, teaching, and keeping up with her own creative production schedule, Jenifer enjoys working on commissions for people’s homes and offices. Her elegantly inspired wall and garden installations provide unique conversation pieces for any indoor/outdoor space. To get information on gallery showings, class schedules, arranging purchase/commissions, and more, email Jenifer at Roberle1@cox.net or go online to www.wham-art.org.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.