Lisa Katz is the art department chair at South Carroll High School and art teacher. She is also a local artist living in Eldersburg.
Katz does not remember her first art experiences. Her sister remembers that Katz would disappear into the basement for the entire day and come back with painted rocks and anything else she could paint.
In her early years at summer camp, Katz realized that she wanted to spend all her time at the art cabin. She painted, did papier mãché, wire sculpture, mosaics. Whenever she had a free period away from swimming, riding and other camp activities she found her happy place at art camp.
There was a counselor that saw her love of art and gave her a book called “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. He wrote in the cover, “I hope this is the beginning of a life-long career in art.” She still has it rubber banded together since it is falling apart. She has referred to parts of it throughout her 28-year teaching career.
Katz attended J.P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey. She took print making, etching, painting, drawing and ceramics as part of a class. During her senior year she began the day with an art class and ended the day with an art class. “It was wonderful,” she remembered.
Her favorite thing to do is custom artwork. Slaterbeck designs everything from custom tattoos to wedding invitations, logos and special pieces of artwork. She also creates unique portraits that turn a person into a piece of artwork that both is timeless and reflects the personality of the subject.
In high school she was the class senior superlative, voted on by the class. She was the class artist and the art editor of the yearbook. Her original artwork was on the cover. Katz fought to have the color multicolor and won. It was the first year that the cover was printed in color. The image was a hawk, the school mascot, that spanned both covers.
When she graduated, Katz attended the University of Maryland in College Park and majored in art education. When she graduated, she taught art at Oakland Mills High School in Howard County for six years. Then, she got married and moved to Arizona. While there, she taught elementary art for six years.
Katz and her family moved back to the east coast from Phoenix. She wanted to raise her children closer to her family and felt that the schools were better here. In 2003, the family arrived in Carroll County and she began to teach at South Carroll High School.
“I love getting to share my biggest passion with students who share a passion for art or those students who grow to love art,” Katz said. “There are students in school who come to school so that they can take the art classes.”
Christine Mercer-Vernon is a regional artist participating in the current show at Carroll Community College titled Phantom Narrative. The show is being held at the Scott Gallery through Nov. 2 and was organized by Art Department Chair Jessi Hardesty,
There are several of her students who now teach art in Carroll County. One of her students later became one of her student-teachers. “If I had a small part in the inspiration it makes me happy,” she said.
“I say all the time, ‘I love my job.’ I go in with a smile and leave with a smile every day,” Katz said.
Katz is an artist in her own right. She used to do oil painting and has started using acrylic. Lately, she has been moving into 3-D art. When pursuing her graduate degree at McDaniel College, she fell in love with jewelry making in Linda Van Hart’s class.
Most summers, she also attends Common Ground on the Hill. She is the liaison for Common Ground at South Carroll High School. “It is such a good opportunity for teachers,” she said. “If you are a teacher who is not an artist or anyone that just wants to try art it is a great opportunity.”
She has participated in the Carroll County Teachers Show held in the Community Gallery at the Carroll County Arts Council (carrollcountyartscouncil.org).
“I am called the junk lady at South Carroll,” Katz explained. Her students participate in the “Rethink, Recycling” sculpture contest sponsored by the Maryland Department of the Environment for America Recycles Day. ARD is a national program to encourage citizens to recycle materials, to buy recycled items and to support source reduction to help achieve a more sustainable society. This year ARD is Friday, Nov. 30.