Awards for his art and cross country students are scattered through out West Forsyth High School art teacher Nathan Newsome's classroom in Clemmons.

Nathan Newsome is living proof that you can come — even run — home again — and do so artfully.

He grew up in Winston-Salem and graduated from West Forsyth High School in Clemmons. He received a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner-Webb University after getting a bachelor’s degree in art from East Carolina University with concentrations in painting and ceramics.

In the spring of 1994, Newsome started teaching visual art at West Forsyth and is also the department chair. “I have ... loved every minute of it,” he said. “I have spent literally half of my life here. It’s a part of me, and I know how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be at such a great place.”

Also certified in health and physical education, Newsome is head coach of the boys and girls cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams. A father of four, he works a third job daily also at Country Club Carwash and paints houses during the summers.

Newsome finds time to keep himself fit by running. “My highlight being running in the 2017 Boston Marathon, the same year our boy’s team won the state championship in track and field.”

Q: What was your introduction to art?

Answer: As a child I remember the feeling that I got the first time I was able to draw something I was proud of, and it was just the best feeling. It made me feel good. I think that is the crux of what inspires many children to enjoy and produce artwork. My father was talented in art, and both my parents were always very encouraging of my interests. That support was a gift that I appreciate very much.

Q: What is a typical day like for you?

Answer: I wake up early and take my youngest daughter, Hope, to middle school. Then I go to my side job at Country Club Car Wash before reporting to West Forsyth. There, I teach Art 2, 3 and 4 each day. After school I am the head coach for the boys and girls cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams, so we have practice or a meet six days a week. Then I head home where I enjoy cooking and spending time with my wife, Amy, middle daughter, Blair, and oldest daughter, Mackenzie, who teaches art at Parkland High School. My son is away at college as a freshman at UNC-Asheville. I am also an avid runner and squeeze in the miles whenever I can.

Q: What do you like about working with kids?

Answer: Working with kids is what I enjoy most about teaching. This is such a special time in their lives and their development hinges on a positive self image, I feel. I get the opportunity to help them build self esteem and positive self worth through art and through athletics. As a parent I learned you want your child to be involved with something positive. Something they can be a part of and I am lucky enough to have a wide spectrum through art and coaching that I get to be a part of many children’s brief time at West Forsyth and hopefully enrich their experience. Being able to see the amazing artwork they can produce is very rewarding. I know I am very fortunate to be at a great school like West Forsyth with a staff that appreciates visual arts. My fellow visual art teachers are awesome here at West.

Q: What would you like people to know about the importance of the arts in education?

Answer: Art touches every aspect of lives, often without us realizing it. Art is in what we wear, where we live, what we drive, what we listen to, and what we choose to watch for entertainment. They are all designed and created by artistic minds. That creative inspiration is key to the what drives our artistic spirit. In education, fostering that opportunity and skill is critical in the student’s development as a thinker. In my classes we stress not just the “how” to create the artwork but we put a huge premium on the “why.” The “why” is what allows children to express ideas and create their views of what they want others to think, see and experience. Without all that the arts provides in our day-to-day lives things would be pretty boring and empty. Art fills our worlds.

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Lisa O’Donnell usually writes this column about artists — visual, musical, literary and more — weekly in relish. Send your story ideas to or call 336-727-7420.

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