My name is Bonnie Brunner. I was born in 1966, number 4 out of 5 children. I started out like most children who enjoy art; I made drawings, colored and created. If I didn't have a "jean" purse like my friends, I made my own.
We moved a lot, and the elementary schools I attended didn't offer art classes. My mom and dad saw how much I liked drawing and let me take a few art lessons from an old lady in town. It wasn't until junior high that I had an art elective. I will never forget how Mr. Williams taught me to "draw what I see." I now teach this to my students.
As much as I loved art, I never thought I could be a “real” artist. My oldest sister drew so much better than me. So when it was time to go to college, I thought I would follow in my family's footsteps, and join the medical field as a physical therapist. I liked science and I loved helping people.
Then, I took my first college art course. My drawing instructor told me that I should be in art school. That was all it took. I applied to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They accepted me and offered a grant scholarship. I felt that this was meant to be. I moved there on my own from Springfield, MO.
Chicago was very big compared to my home town, but I was surrounded by painters, dancers, musicians and more. I felt that this was my new home. I graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and Drawing. After my graduation in 1989, I concentrated on painting and took advantage of several opportunities to exhibit and sell my work.
I met the love of my life, my husband, in Chicago. We had our two wonderful boys. Helping my boys develop and explore their world inspired me to teach. So when his job transferred us to North Carolina, I enrolled at Meredith College in their Teacher Licensure program for Art K-12th grade. My children were ready to start school. Having the same schedule as my children was great! We had quality time together and were able to have summer adventures.
It felt good to provide elementary children what I didn't have at their age, an art education. Then I recalled student teaching Homeschooled children at Meredith College. It occurred to me that there might be children out there that I have not yet reached. In 2001, I started the “smART Room Studio" with 3 Homeschooled students who came to my home art studio for their lessons. I developed my own art curriculum for a wider age range (K-12th grade). Now I enjoy teaching art to 65 homeschooled students, and nurture their creative side.