For Mary Wright [BS-Art ’95], “whimsical” is a thread that runs through her life. This includes her work as a Waunakee teacher, her artwork, her personality, and even her wardrobe, including trademark overalls and assortment of funky eyeglasses ranging from rhinestone rims to cat-eye glasses.

Wright starting teaching art in Waunakee in 1996. Certified to teach K-12, she has traveled to multiple schools and now teaches K-4 at Heritage Elementary. There, she works with 500-600 students each year. Her impact is apparent in a parent comment that his daughter’s first words in the morning are, “Hooray, it’s art day!”

At the beginning of each class, Wright plays music while students work in private sketchbooks.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Wright said. But “what kind of teacher” didn’t get answered until college. Growing up in Rockton, Illinois, it wasn’t until high school that she had much exposure to art. The fact that her older brother was an artist helped pique her interest. She started junior college in Rockford, not sure if she would go into art or English.


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