Art Teacher Moonlights as Art Gallery Owner and Published Author

Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

Eric Gibbons was recently named New Jersey’s Best High School Art Teacher for 2015. The art teacher from Northern Burlington Regional High School in Columbus, New Jersey has been teaching at the high school for 22 years and was recognized for his commitment to keeping art in the schools and finding ways to use the core curriculum within his art lessons.

Besides being a high school art teacher, Gibbons is the owner of The Firehouse Gallery located in Bordentown, New Jersey which he purchased from the original owner in 1994. He is also the director of the summer art camp at the Firehouse Gallery.

Gibbons is the author of The Art Student’s Workbook which is sold on Amazon and is on the top 100 list of art instruction books. The book is a collection of lessons he has taught since 1991 which mostly focuses on classical portrait oil paintings.

His newest educational book, If Picasso Went to the Zoo will be released in August which he collaborated with 50 art teachers from all over the world. The book focuses on animal conservation and incorporates educational and common core elements in it.

Gibbons brings a wealth of experience to his students having taught in Egypt and Japan before coming to Northern Burlington Regional High.

Gibbons believes that other subjects can be integrated into the art program so that students get the most out of the lesson. “I integrate core content like math and history in a concrete sort of way,” Gibbons said. He says this is a great way to keep core lessons in the school even when budget cuts are required. He says his students use geometry skills and rulers in his class and he uses high level language during classes to keep students challenged. “My students tend to test higher,” Gibbons said.