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– Messenger photo by Bill Shea

Angela Ayala, the new art educator and deputy director of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, works in the museum’s classroom. Here, she uses a painting done by another artist as a prop to demonstrate the brushwork technique.

When Angela Ayala was growing up, she drew a lot.

“Art has been my passion since I was little” Ayala recently said. “It’s just a growing passion that has never wavered.”

Ayala was able to turn that passion into a career that brought her back to Fort Dodge and the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, where she began working as a museum educator and assistant director on August 30.

She knew the museum very well from her previous visits and from having completed two internships there during her university years.

“I loved the Blanden. I loved the collection. I loved Fort Dodge,” she says.

Being a full-time staff member gave her an even greater appreciation for the museum.

“It’s a pearl” she says. “I had no idea how beautiful the collection was when I was in school.”

Ayala is from Fort Dodge and grew up in Otho. She graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High School. She went on to earn a BFA from Grandview University in Des Moines. She also has a certification in art therapy.

She worked in various artistic jobs in Iowa. Prior to joining the staff of the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, Ayala worked for Momentum, a program in Des Moines that helps people with disabilities create art.

“Seeing what they do to create is amazing to me,” she says of the Momentum attendees.

Ayala said participants in this program demonstrate that “No matter what difficulties you encounter in life, art is always there for you.”

Her favorite art form is mixed media painting. This art form includes at least two different types of materials. For example, she said she might have an idea that involves feathers. She will start by putting color on a canvas, then continue to work with paint and feathers.

She said her favorite artist is Andy Warhol. She said she admired him for what she called his ability to constantly reinvent himself.

At Blanden, she is responsible for teaching art education classes and creating teaching materials. She is also responsible for training the docents, who are the museum’s tour guides.

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