Ms. Kelsey Rowley is Welcomed to Westwood’s Art Department


Photo coutesy of Ms. Rowley

Ms. Kelsey Rowley joined Westwood to teach Drawing I and Painting I/II/III for her fifth year of teaching. She was born in California, but moved around a lot until she was eight, when her family finally decided to settle in Texas. She went to the University of North Texas, where she majored in visual arts with a focus on watercolor and ceramics. 

“I loved that I didn’t have much control over [watercolor]. I thought it was really nice for an artist to be challenged that day,” Ms. Rowley said. “Play-Doh used to be my favorite thing growing up, and [ceramics] is like adult Play-Doh to me.”

Ms. Rowley had wanted to be a teacher since elementary school because she loved the school environment, but lost that interest as she got older. Instead, she developed an interest in the arts. For the first two years of college, she pursued fashion design. After realizing fashion design was not what she wanted to pursue, she decided to become an art teacher. She previously taught all the way from kindergarten art to AP Art at Harmony School of Political Science.

“For high school art, I taught Art I through Art III, and AP Art, which was one of my favorites,” Ms. Rowley said. “I love that at that point, I’ve had the students for several years and got to see them grow as art students.” 

Art history, stories about artists, the fact that art looks different to different people, and learning new things about art are some things Ms. Rowley enjoys about art. Her favorite type of art is surrealism and her favorite artist is Salvador Dali.

“One of my favorite things is learning new things about art because there’s so much, and it goes back [to] the beginning of man,” Ms. Rowley said. “Men were on the planet and they started painting in caves. So it’s a natural human instinct to make art.” 

Outside of school, Ms. Rowley paints and sketches. Besides art, she likes to be active and try new things. She enjoys hiking, camping, and running downtown. 

“One of the reasons I wanted to move to Austin was because of how outdoorsy it is, and the music scene,” Ms. Rowley said.

Since moving to Austin, Ms. Rowley heard a lot about Westwood. She loved that it was focused and appreciative of the arts. The fact that there was an entire team of art teachers was something she really liked.

“Mr. Garza and I have already become good friends. He’s taking me under his wing and showing me a lot about Westwood,” Ms. Rowley said. 

Ms. Rowley is looking forward to making a name for herself here, and wants to start forging new relationships with the students and staff. Making murals across the campusschool is something she wants to do so that everyone can recognize the amazing artists that we have here. 

“I’m also looking forward to school events like pep rallies and football games. That was not a focus at my last school,” Ms. Rowley said. 

In her previous school, Ms. Rowley taught all grades from K-12. At Westwood, she gets to focus on high school drawing and painting. She feels that high school is a really important stage of a person’s life, and they’re always going to fondly remember it. One thing she wants her students to get out of her class is the belief that they can be artists. 

“Just to believe that they can be an artist is one of the hardest things to overcome,” Ms. Rowley said. “I think when we start to get older, we start to doubt ourselves. I really want people to know that they can be an artist.”