“I do not create to live . . . I live to create,” said Judi Groves.
A life-long lover of art, Groves took her first art lesson through a summer program at Washburn University at the age of five. As a child, on visits to the Nelson Atkins museum in Kansas City, she lagged behind everyone, longing to get lost and locked inside the museum overnight. Her efforts proved fruitless every time. “Someone always found me,” she said
Involved in education, with a focus on art-based educational research, Groves uses art to reach at-risk students. For six years, she served as executive director of the Arkansas City Arts Council (now called Burford Center for the Arts). After six years, she moved into teaching. From a drawing class for three rural high schools using interactive television, to interim head of the art department at Cowley College, to after school programs with the Arkansas City schools teaching art across the curriculum to her current work with students at Sacred Heart elementary school, Groves is deeply involved in art education.
One summer she was invited to work with students exhibiting extreme developmental and behavior challenges. This experience provided research for her article, “Art as a Behavior Modification Tool,” published in the Journal of Multicultural Education, summer 2006. That summer also launched her passion for art-based educational research. She served on a team to reach across the barriers of incarceration with the 19th Judicial District Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board.
“Kids learn in different ways,” Groves said. “So many fall through the cracks of traditional education.”
With art, Groves is able to reach at-risk students through alternative methods of learning.
“Art can teach kids how to focus, how to set and meet goals. It teaches problem-solving techniques. All this transfers to other curricular areas. If we can just give kids a method to learn, wouldn’t it be wonderful?” Groves said.
Judi Groves and her husband Mike live in Arkansas City. They have four children and enjoy four grandchildren.
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