Cheri Burke

2019 Dolores Levin Memorial Scholarship

Cheri was awarded a Delores Levin Memorial Scholarship to attend a workshop with Mark Eanes at La Romita. As a public school art teacher (Clymer Central School) in a rural farming community and a mother of two children in college, this experience was far outside her current financial reach. Since her return, she has been using the techniques she learned to not only delve back into her own art, but also in her classroom. You can read more about Cheri’s “Once in a Lifetime Experience” in her own words.

“As an art teacher, I can say that this experience was the most amazing professional development you could be immersed in. Nothing relates closer back to the classroom than working with artists in the space at La Romita.”

Cheri Burke, 2019

I met Brandy Noody at a workshop she did on Debra Bonsack’s textured acrylic technique. At that workshop, she spoke about her time at La Romita and the Delores Levin scholarship. I followed up with her and decided that I had to apply. I am so glad that Brandy recommended it, and that I said to myself “I’m going to do this!”

I attended Mark Eanes workshop on Color Theory. He was such an inspiring teacher. The structure, as well as the content, and the presentation of the material were amazing. Our days started with a five minute breathing meditation, a short reading, and a lesson. His wife was also there and offered stretching and yoga. Everything was designed to allow us to be artists and just create. To take that time! I can’t even put it into words. As a teacher, any time I have is spent prepping for another class, versus creating my own art.

I learned so many things that I have brought back to my classroom. I showed my students a YouTube video of Mark, and then we worked through the color mixing process. I cut up squares of copies of art from the artists I worked with in his workshop, and then had my students recreate the color match using only primary colors and white. The results were so great.

Being at La Romita was like having your family take care of you for an extended stay! All of our needs were anticipated, or met as soon as we voiced them. From the cooks, and the cleaning staff, to Edmund and Valerio, everyone made us feel like honored guests. This allowed me to be present in the moment and focus on art, and that doesn’t ever happen in the real world.

La Romita was so inspiring. The grounds, the rooms, the chapel… Every morning I would take a run up the hill and just be overwhelmed by the views. I can’t say it enough, it was inspiring. I have shared this experience with everyone I know. I could never have afforded to go without this scholarship, and it truly was a once in a lifetime experience for me as a teacher and as an artist.

Since I have been home, I have been using the techniques and have multiple paintings that I am very proud of. I have been doing a ton of things with the exercises in my own work, and definitely in my classroom. My students are from a rural farming community, are very hard workers, but do not have much exposure to art. Every year I take a group on a two hour bus ride to the Cleveland Art Museum and realize that most of students have never been to a museum of any kind, and some had never left this little corner of WNY. Because of my experience, I can not only share art techniques I learned, but also share a perspective on culture and travel and life long learning.

I cannot think of a thing that could have made this better. From the ease of the application process, to being picked up at the airport and everything that was taken care of for us at La Romita, it was such a smooth process. It was a magical place and a magical experience. Thank you!

-Cheri Burk, November 21, 2019

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