A colorful career is coming to an end: Marso has been teaching art at trade association schools for 23 years

Cindy Marso is retiring from the BG schools.

J D Pooley | Sentinel Tribune

Cindy Marso will be hanging up her art coat and putting away her watercolors at Bowling Green Middle School later this year.

Marso announced in September her intention to retire on July 1. She was an art teacher at Bowling Green City Schools for 23 years, finishing her career in middle school.

Marso began teaching art at Conneaut Elementary in 1999 and transitioned to middle school after 2014.

“I’ve always made art, ever since I was little,” Marso said. “My mom used to buy me art supplies for birthday and Christmas gifts.

“I just grew up with it.”

She also paid tribute to her art teachers, including former teacher Becky Laabs, who “got me excited about it. It was just always part of my life.”

She enjoys working with enamel on copper.

“Learning how to do it, having that two-second window when it reaches viscosity, which just means it melts and fuses with the copper, or it burns and gets ruined, has been a challenge.”

“It’s exciting because you’re dealing with technology, you’re dealing with other things than just drawing on a piece of paper,” Marso said.

She uses an electric oven at home.

Marso was an elementary school painter and did a lot of watercolors and acrylics and for her graduation she focused on jewelry and enamels.

Her seventh graders finished drawing life-size band and orchestra instruments in October, which they say is one of their favorite lessons.

Marso emphasizes drawing and shading so they are ready for high school art.

Her students also paint a lot of watercolor and tempura, and work to scale, including miniature candy bars and enlarging them in their artwork.

“Trying to turn everyday, ordinary things you see in the grocery store into art is also a little bit Andy Warhol and also art history,” Marso said.

She enters contests with her eighth graders’ artwork, including the Peace Poster contest for the Portage Lion’s Club and the Wood County Attorney’s Office’s Safety Kids contest. In the state, she enters the Youth Art Month competition with artworks.

Her students’ artwork tends to dominate the window at Grounds for Thought downtown.

She hopes her 8th graders will leave her class knowing that they gave 100% every day and that being good at art means never giving up.

Most of her evaluation rubric is effort, she said.

A native of South Dakota, Marso grew up in Bowling Green and graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1978. After graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Master of Fine Arts degree, she taught for a year in Texas.

“There were no jobs in the ’80s,” Marso explained as a reason for moving from Ohio to Texas.

She had attended a BGSU job fair and the Texas people welcomed her.

“Texans are the nicest people in the world, and I loved it.”

Marso said she was withdrawn because she missed her mother.

“My husband was like, ‘Are we moving back? We just got here,’” she recalled.

Her husband is Dave Breen, who is a roaster at Grounds for Thought Coffee Roasting Company.

One of Marso’s former students was her son Nick, who is graduating from college with a degree in environmental policy.

In retirement, her goal is to visit every national park.

She will visit those in South Dakota first so she can spend time with family.

“I intend to make art for the rest of my life. I will continue to make copper enamel art and I would love to do watercolors on sight in the national parks.”