Meet Deana, a vibrant 51-year-old with an inspiring journey that showcases the boundless opportunities one can seize as one ages. Deana hails from Oklahoma, where she spent 38 years of her life as a theater teacher, nurturing young talents and bringing stories to life on the stage. After relocating to the scenic landscapes of upstate South Carolina, she embarked on her second act—a journey marked by artistic expression, a deep love for teaching, and a commitment to empowering others.
In her early career, Deana dedicated 13 years to teaching high school and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. She was deeply involved in theater, often taking on roles that involved set design, prop creation, and painting. Her passion for nurturing creativity in others and her love for the arts set the foundation for her remarkable journey.
Upon moving to South Carolina, Deana took on the role of running a children's theater for 5 years. This endeavor allowed her to continue sharing her passion for theater with the younger generation, inspiring them to explore their creative potential. However, her journey took a significant turn when she decided to become a certified art and AP art teacher, a transition that would reshape her life.
Deana's pursuit of teaching art spans across all age groups. She teaches students from the tender age of 3 to older adult learners through GetSetUp and other community locations. Moreover, she extends her teaching to adults with special needs, enriching their lives through the therapeutic and expressive power of art. For Deana, this second career phase focused on art has been profoundly rewarding as she witnesses the transformative impact of art and education on her students.
"I’m so in love with art that I don’t feel there is enough time in the day to do everything I want to do," Deana exclaims, highlighting her unbridled passion for artistic expression.
She has a voracious appetite for exploring various artistic mediums, from painting and woodburning to playwriting. Her relentless curiosity drives her to surround herself with diverse artistic experiences, a testament to her belief that everyone possesses an inner artist.
Deana firmly holds the view that creativity is an intrinsic part of every individual. "I believe that everyone is an artist and creative," she insists.
She refutes the notion that one must be labeled an "artist" and encourages people to reclaim their creative instincts. Her mission on GetSetUp is to empower individuals to embrace their innate creativity and artistic potential. Deana sees art as a gateway to learning, likening it to the scientific method, where experimentation, trial, and error lead to enlightenment.
Incorporating art into education is a central theme in Deana's philosophy. She believes that art enhances all aspects of learning, including math and science. Art stimulates holistic thinking, encourages problem-solving, and nurtures mental well-being. Her advocacy for art in education extends to people of all ages, reinforcing her commitment to sharing knowledge and igniting creativity.
“I’m passionate about education and bringing what I know to other people. I love teaching. I think that is probably what I was meant to do. Sharing knowledge and my philosophy of how to learn is my greatest passion.”
Deana's boldness shines through in her decision to embrace her second act of life. She gracefully stepped away from the confines of a full-time career to pursue her passion for art and teaching.
"I don't care if it's not the smartest thing; it's going to make me happy," she declares. Her age provided her with the clarity and confidence needed to prioritize her happiness and follow her heart.
As she ages, Deana also becomes more hospitable in her role as an encourager. She opens doors for others to explore their creativity and pursue their passions. Her mission is to dismantle the barriers that prevent people from picking up a paintbrush or venturing into the world of art. She understands that taking that first step can be daunting, and she aims to provide the courage and support individuals need to begin their creative journey.
In her pursuit of empowerment, Deana remains an eternal learner. She actively seeks opportunities to further her own education in the field of art. Deana takes art classes and participates in workshops, both in her local community and online. Plus, she values the knowledge and insights she gains from fellow artists.
“The fact that I have the opportunity to come on to GetSetUp and build this community of learners is a wonderful opportunity. They are teaching me which I love, and they come up with ideas, I’ve never thought of. They are bright and bold enough to ask ‘What if you do it this way…’ and I had never thought of that. To be able to have that exchange between Guide and Learner is making me a better artist and Guide because my learners are teaching me things, as I’m teaching them.”
Deana emphasizes the value of time as she gets older. She recognizes that life speeds up as one ages, and she's determined not to miss out on the art she could be creating. This urgency drives her to explore different mediums, experiment with cooking, and remodel her home—all while maintaining an active teaching schedule.
Curiosity is another hallmark of Deana's journey. She has embraced healthier eating habits and is fascinated by the impact of nutrition on her well-being. This curiosity has led to a significant transformation in her life, where she now enjoys cooking and exploring new recipes - which she never had time for in the past.
Looking forward, Deana is excited about the opportunities that aging brings. She values the growing confidence and self-assuredness that age has bestowed upon her. As an older woman, she believes that her voice carries more weight, and she's determined to use it to inspire and educate.
“Although my body is getting slower, my brain is getting better, and my self-confidence is growing stronger. My ability not to doubt myself is improving and I speak my mind now and that is great! My grandma was always my hero because she had this great voice. She was smart and spoke her mind. She would be the one haggling for a good price on the car not my grandpa. I got her voice and see her in myself and I think that is so beautiful!”
With her age, Deana has noticed that people tend to trust more what she says, and she hopes that never goes away.
Deana's journey is a testament to the limitless possibilities that come with age. Her commitment to art, teaching, and empowerment showcases the power of pursuing one's passions and embracing creativity. As she continues to thrive in her second act, Deana serves as an inspiration to all who dare to follow their hearts and explore the world with unbridled curiosity and hospitality.