Tremonton resident, Vicki Merriweather, is using a garage that once protected an RV as an art studio. She calls it the Art Garage. Instead of painting her own art, she put up some long tables, added chairs and turned the garage into a classroom.
She is currently teaching about 80 students, from kindergarten to college age, starting after school until 6 p.m. in the evening. She gives each of the students the attention needed during the class, giving encouragement and suggestions.
Some parents put their kids in soccer, scouts and any number of other things. Merriweather believes there is place for art the in lives of young people. She said art can teach some valuable lessons. She not only teaches them art, she teaches them to believe in themselves just as much as she believes in them.
“We are not all athletes or straight A students. I want my students to be the best they can be at whatever they are doing,” said the Tremonton native. “I just want them to learn as much as they can.”
Merriweather has been teaching art to young people for 12 years, mostly part-time in a studio she built in her basement. She began teaching full-time 3 ½ years ago in the remodeled garage.
She used to have a boutique at a different location, but there was a fire and it destroyed everything. Her husband Brad converted the garage into the studio where she teaches today.
“I’ve travelled all over the world, teaching color and design to other artists, and I’ve taken classes from a lot of professionals,” she said. “I didn’t start painting until all of my children were in school.”
She didn’t take art classes in high school because she was scared of the instructor.
“I was looking for something to do while my kids were in high school, and that’s when I started painting,” Merriweather said. “I went to work for a company in Australia, and still could work at home.” She said she lived in other places, but her family and her love for the Tremonton area and the people there brought her back.
After a successful art career, Merriweather felt she wanted to teach art to young people, to give back and give them a good start. She has taught adults, but she found teaching children more enjoyable.
“I feel like I’m making an investment in these kids,” Merriweather said. “They trust me. You can do a lot if they trust in you.”
Some of her past students come back to visit. She has watched a lot of them grow up during their time in the garage.
“At Christmas time we take their art and turn it into Christmas cards for them,” said Merriweather.
Periodically, the art can be also found in the front window of the Bear River Valley Museum.
“It’s amazing to be a part of them and see what they become,” she said. “It’s all about the kids. I want them to do the best they can. It’s the greatest job in the world,” Merriweather said. “I learn more from them than they learn from me. It’s been a fun adventure.”