Ballard joins CMR Art Department

Spending last summer in Rochester, N.Y., Alethea Ballard had few expectations of where her future may lay. But upon seeing an open position for an art teacher in the modest plains town of Great Falls, she jumped on the opportunity, despite an outcome with extreme uncertainty. Following her application, she was accepted only two hours after an interview at the Great Falls district office. A new chapter in her life had just begun.

Great Falls is not Ballard’s first experience in Montana. While growing up in Minnesota, she also spread her roots to the Big Sky Country, spending many summers in Bozeman. After earning a bachelor’s degree in printmaking at Minnesota State University, she went on to pursue two master’s degrees (including a teaching degree) at Montana State University. Ballard experienced high school education firsthand while student teaching at Bozeman High School and in Livingston.

Although Great Falls is not her first experience in Montana, she says it provides a vastly different and enlightening change in perception.

“It’s a beautiful city,” Ballard said. “There is so much enrichment in life to experience culture…even just travelling within the United States.”  

Life involves learning from your errors, Ballard says.

“Make mistakes. You have to,” she said.

Ballard has now taken up the challenging task of teaching art. Her classes include art workshop and graphic design.  She teaches at CMR in the morning and travels to Great Falls High School in the afternoon.

“I will impart my wisdom on the students. Art is everything, [and] people should be aware of that.”