For Kathy Deakins, teaching is an art

Nathan Baker • Jun 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Kathy Deakins dreamed of being a painter when she was a young art student in college. Then, more than 30 years ago, she taught her first art class.

“Oh, I love it,” she said. “It’s not always about the product, it’s about the students having fun. When they start smiling and getting creative, it just makes your day.”

On Wednesday, Deakins taught a printing class for students from the Brother’s Keeper program for adults with development disabilities at her Log Cabin Art Studio on East Unaka Avenue in Johnson City. The studio was once her and her husband’s starter home, but she converted it a few years ago after her family left the nest.

After graduating college, Deakins took a job as the Johnson City School system’s instructor for visually gifted students in 1983. She said teaching wasn’t the career she’d envisioned as a student, but after doing it for a while, she said she didn’t know what she was thinking.

“I just enjoy seeing what they come up with,” she said. “I’ve always loved kids, and I was very lucky that my first job just fell into my lap.

“I look forward to coming to work every day.”

After the city school program coordinator job, Deakins next taught an afterschool art enrichment program, then taught at Tri-Cities Christian School before landing at East Tennessee State University’s B. Carroll Reece Museum. When the Reece Museum changed its programming, Deakins opened up shop in her own studio.

At Log Cabin Art, she offers a diverse selection of classes, and is now in the middle of summer art camp programming for students who are on summer break from school.

From June 24 through 28, she’ll conduct a Space program for children 4 to 6 years old to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. In July, to celebrate Independence Day, her four-day camp, America the Beautiful, will guide students through a study of American and Native American symbols using a variety of media. Deakins also hopes to offer an Ancient Greece summer camp, but has yet to set dates for it.

The Brother’s Keeper students are regulars at “Miss Kathy’s” studio, and she teaches at the program’s facility, too.

As Deakins traversed the studio helping each student, they proudly showed her their stamps and printed art.

Brother’s Keeper Educational Director Ashlee Thompson said Deakins has taught the program’s students since its founding three years ago, and she has been a huge help to the staff and students.

“She’s been wonderful,” Thompson said. “She’s such a big asset to our program.”

For more information about Deakins’ studio and offered classes, visit Log Cabin Art on Facebook or email kathydeakins38@gmail.com.

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