Episode 86: Marianna Jimenez Edwards: Re-Emerging

Marianna talked about the support she felt from teachers and her parents as an artist, but also the challenge of learning to draw. She shared a method for teaching drawing that she longed for as a young person, working to improve her technique.

The way she shifted from teaching full-time and feeling the burnout so many of us have felt was so inspiring. I loved hearing how she found a semblance of balance with part-time teaching and part-time art-making as she re-emerged as an artist. Marianna also talked about the move from Miami, FL to Boise, ID and how the culture shock affected her. She shared how she sought out community both locally and online through fellow artists and teachers. I loved hearing about her process and how she uses visual journaling alongside her students as an ongoing practice.  

Marianna Jimenez Edwards is a veteran high school art teacher who strives to incorporate a choice-based curriculum and believes in creating a space for students to experience how to see and think like artists. Having felt deficiencies in her own technical skills after leaving her high school art classes, teaching traditional drawing and painting skills that students expect is also important in her teaching practice. 

After teaching at one high school in Nampa, ID for 9 years, a sense of inauthenticity crept into her mind. It felt strange to hold students to such high expectations if she was not holding them to herself. The need to return to her own art practice also became more apparent after the birth of her son, and then more sadly with the loss of her paternal grandparents, her most direct connection to her Mexican roots. Marianna stepped away from teaching the year before the pandemic to dedicate more time to painting, only to feel a void both intellectually and financially. She returned to teaching in the West Ada School District in 2020, and now Marianna is one of three other art teachers opening a brand-new high school art department in the district at Owyhee High School. 

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Marianna attended suburban public schools and has always loved learning. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, receiving a BFA in Painting.

Awareness of her indigenous heritage and Chicano culture blossomed during art school. Also, during that time, visiting her grandmother’s village in Oaxaca and various archaeological sites in Central Mexico and Chiapas on separate occasions transformed that awareness into the passion and central ideas for her work.

After art school, Marianna taught drawing and painting at two separate private studios. One of those studios belonged to classically trained, Venezuelan artist, Conchita Firgau, which led Marianna to want to explore a blend of Western realism with Pre-Columbian knowledge. Drips, lines, and marks explore ideas of the fraying of time woven into a sense of existing within two different and distinct cultures. She draws and paints in oil, acrylic, and mixed media, incorporating cultural motifs, collage, portraits, animals, textiles, and patterns into her visual language. 

In 2019 Marianna received an Alexa Rose Foundation Grant to travel to the Museo Textil in Oaxaca, Mexico (postponed due to COVID). In 2020 she created Ancestral Steering for the City of Boise Traffic Box Project. In 2021 she was again awarded with an Alexa Rose Foundation Grant to purchase a camera for quality reference photos and documenting her portfolio through photographs and videos. She exhibits her work locally and continues to grow her professional artist practice. 

Marianna lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and 6-year-old son. When she is not teaching or painting, she’s running, working out, or meditating. 

Marianna’s studio

In the classroom