11 News Special Segment: 'Your Story' highlights Kimberly Johnson

By: Leigh Ashman Email
By: Leigh Ashman Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Everyone has a story to tell, but we don’t always get the chance to tell it.

11 News knows there are inspiring people doing amazing things in the Valley.

Every Friday night for the month of May, we’re bringing you those positive stories.

To find these positive stories we did something simple, we pulled out the phone book, literally picked a name at random and started making phone calls.

This week, Kimberly Johnson answered. And just as we suspected, this volunteer art teacher has an inspiring story that shares the spotlight with her students.

“When you bring art and stuff to kids they suddenly start seeing things differently. They start seeing grass differently, they look at sunsets differently,” she says.

Kimberly has brought the artist perspective to Appleton Elementary School students for the past few years. “I've had kids come up to me in the hall, Ms. Johnson, or Miss Kimber! I saw a blue heron the other day! Things that they suddenly pick up and they suddenly see that they might not have noticed if they hadn't been exposed to it a little bit,” she says.

She took over an after school program where kids work on pieces to submit to the youth art competition at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

“We don't have an art room. When I was in school we had an art room that we went to and we don't have that in schools anymore,” Kimberly says.

Even though budget cuts have cut out art space, the school offers a miniature art curriculum, and Kimberly’s after school program is part of that.

“I always like to tell them there aren't any mistakes. They get a lot of pressure. Math, two plus two has to equal four. Science, if you mix the wrong chemicals together you're gonna get an explosion. With art you can play and have some fun and express yourself. You shouldn't ever feel like you have a mistake with it,” she says.

Kimberly helps her students brush up on their skills, and this year they wrangled up most of the awards, bringing home 18 of the 40 prizes, including four of the five Grand Champion ribbons.

She says while there are no mistakes in art, it is a mistake not to be your budding artist’s biggest fan.

“Be wild about it, even if you don't know what it is. You see this blob, go 'Wow! Those are fantastic colors!' I love the way you've brought them together, tell me about it. Don't look at it and go, blah or something like that. Just be excited about it and be excited about them and they will be excited in return,” Kimberly says.

While Kimberly’s own kids have moved on from Appleton, she says she’ll stay and be excited about her student’s work until another parent steps up to take over.

Join us next week for a little more good news as we bring you another ‘Your Story’ segment. And remember, if you see 11 News on the Caller ID, be sure to pick up!

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