Marianne Hale was the art instructor at Colorado Boys Ranch and has once again found a way to help

Marianne Hale was the art instructor at Colorado Boys Ranch for many years before it closed in 2012. Her studio was a place for recovery for adjudicated and emotionally disturbed youth. A student diagnosed with schizophrenia produced amazing aluminum foil structures of animals from his native Alaska. Boys recovering from opioid addiction produced jewelry. It was a classroom full of hope. “When the ranch closed, I had to find something else to do,” said Hale.

Now Hale is working at her studio in the New Horizons school in La Junta. She has two classes of New Horizons students. She also works with a group of veterans at Fort Lyon in a class from Otero Junior College. Her class from Fort Lyon stages a show every semester at Somewhere on San Juan, the headquarters of the South East Colorado Creative Partnership, of which she is a charter and very active member. She and her husband, Richard, are featured in the First Friday Art Show at the IDEA Center in Rocky Ford this Friday. She has indeed found something to do. Her works may also be seen at her booth in the 1st Street Emporium in La Junta.

Hale’s first love is clay - she has been working with it for 50 years. She likes to discover what the clay can become. Sometimes things blow up in the kiln: she likes to stretch the limits and encourages her students to do the same. She always starts with clay in her classes, “If you can get them to enjoy the clay, you can do anything else.” She quoted another artist, “When you quit working at what pleases you and start working to please other people, you have lost the spirit.” Her students seem to gain the spirit from her.

Her latest “best class I have ever had” will be exhibiting at Somewhere on San Juan, 5th and San Juan Ave. on Monday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The students from her college class at Fort Lyon will probably be there working at a big table along with her and perhaps some other SECCP members on that day. It is well worth your time to go to any of these exhibits.