To Cindy Elkins’ way of thinking, she’s cornered the market on fun when it comes to her art instructional specialist calling here at Eagle Rock. Not only does she get to dabble in the arts every single day, but also she has the opportunity to watch students participate in the artistic process — and that includes the innovative and creative notions these kids come up with on any medium.
She’s also big on establishing art projects with Eagle Rock students that involve service to the communities surrounding our school. Along with the locals in Estes Park, Elkins and her students have painted the oval Jesus on the hillside downtown, help create the community unity tile mural in the tunnel next to Kind Coffee, and most recently, the painted mural at the Rocky Mountain National Park’s hotshot dorm.
Here are some other fascinating facets of this artist, mom and dog lover’s life:
Eagle Rock: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock?
Cindy: Art and drama have always been exciting parts of my life. I taught art in the public school right out of college and offered private art lessons in ceramics and painting in a variety of settings. Prior and during college, I worked as a rafting photographer on the Colorado River and sold my pictures to tourists. Over 26 years of living in Estes Park, I have been very active in local dance and theater productions both at Eagle Rock School and in town.
Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?
Cindy: The diverse student population and the idea of creating a school that would do its best to reach students who don’t fit the public school mold — that was my original interest in Eagle Rock. After working in the public school for 13 years, I longed for different ways of doing things and wanted to see if I could help kids become the best they can be. Trying to figure out how to help my own son be teachable was also a big influence in wanting to know more about how to teach.
Eagle Rock: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Cindy: I like to cook, paint, play cards and travel. I love being in nature and I enjoy long walks with my dogs. Often I walk with a camera to find inspiration for my next art project. Not only do I teach art, I make art! Recently I started working with the Wounded Warriors Project out of Denver. I have started building a relationship with our nation’s veterans through art and using art therapy to face the struggles of PTSD.
Eagle Rock: What reality TV should you be on and why would you win or be kicked off?
Cindy: My reality show would be “Spoon.” I’m sure that I could win — especially if I had an amazing award-winning chef to assist and guide me. I might get kicked off for eating everything instead of spooning it up for the judges to taste.
Eagle Rock: What’s your all-time favorite Eagle Rock success story?
Cindy: Every time we get a ‘Wednesday morning letter’ to check in on what is going on around the globe of Eagle Rockers. Be sure and write yours once you leave this amazing school.
Eagle Rock: What’s one thing not many people know about you?
Cindy: I practice tai chi, yoga, belly dance and play the finger cymbals (a.k.a. zils). Over the years I have created my own version of chakra dancing. It’s a happy way to strengthen and exercise, plus it’s fun to invent something that combines different approaches to a healthy lifestyle.