Admiring Art with Ms. Taylor

I sat down with Ms. Taylor, one of the art teachers here at West, to learn more about and get to know her.

Q: What is your full name?
A: My full name is Luan Ray. My grandfather’s name was Louis and his brother’s name was Raymond and they had a garage where they worked on race cars and they name of it was Lou and Ray’s, so they named me after that.

Q: Where were you born?
A: I was born in Arkansas on the army base Fort Smith.

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in a small town in Northwest Kansas.

Q: Where did you go to grade school?
A: I started school at a one room school house.

Q: What’s the worst thing you did in grade school?
A: The worst thing I did in grade school was step on a boy’s cowboy hat at recess and i had to stand by the wall for the rest of the time.

Q: What was your favorite part of your childhood?
A: My grandmother was part Native American so she would get me out of school sometimes and we would go plant trees on her farm all afternoon.

Q: What were you involved in in high school?
A: I was involved in all music in high school. I play seven different instruments and sing. I got the head role in the junior class play, I got the got the lead female role in 3 musicals as a sophmore, junior, and senior, and I was drum major in the marching band. Also, I was a water skier.

Q: What were your plans after high school?
A: I was going to go into the Peace Corps. I went through training to teach mothers how to care for their new born babies and i was going to go to Iran and be there for 4-6 years. Then, I recieved a full ride music scholarship to Bethany College.

Q: What did you major in in College?
A: My junior year I decided I wanted to be an art major, so I started taking classes for that and I had to stay an extra year so I graduated in five years. I have a double major in art and music with an additional major in literature.

Q: What schools have you taught at?
A: I got offered a job to teach before I graduated to a school in a small town outside of Selina, Kansas, but I had to finish my last month of college. Then, I got a job offer to teach at Holderman Mennanite School and I was able to develop the first art program in their district K-12 and I did that for 2 years. I taught at Eudora High School. Then moved to Detroit, Michigan and taught at an inner city performing arts school. I taught there during Mow-town so I got to see some awesome performers and concerts. Then I taught at Hawker Grove and Antioch Middle Schools. I got this job at West after that. I taught the head principal’s children in Sunday school and he needed an art teacher, so he offered me the job. I also taught night school at Horizons for English for 19 years. I taught summer school too for 16 or 17 years. I have taught at West since I got the job and I teach Philosophy on and off at Friends University.

Q: What degrees do you have?
A: I went to graduate school at KU for art and I have a masters in Anthropology and Physical Science.

Q: What activities, clubs, or jobs have you you been apart of?
A: I started a stomp group here at West called Breaking the Silence, or BTS. Also, I was a drug and alcohol sponsor for the Kauffman Foundation for 3 years. I have also been a special service process server for the Johnson and Wyandotte County court system.

Q: Do you have any kids?
A: Yes, I have two sons. I also have two grandkids, Georgia Bean who is 3 years old and Van the Little Man who is one and a half.

Q: What is your favorite color?
A: Black.

Q: What’s your favorite animal?
A: I don’t have one. I think all animals should be free and not in a cage or building.

Q: What is your favorite song?
A: That’s a hard one! It depends on my mood, but I really like that song by Jack Johnson about making pancakes.

Q: What do you love?
A: I love KU. I also love money because it gives you freedom.

Q: What do you not like?
A: I don’t like laziness or excuses because I think everyone should own up to their mistakes, I don’t like adults I like young people because they’re honest, they have insight, they’re forgiving, and they are excited about life and learning, I hate eggs, and I’m afraid of birds and dentists.

Q: What is something about you you want everyone to know?
A: I’m strict, but I’m fair and kind.

Q: Why is art important to you?
A: Oh art is who I am and what I am. It’s like food. It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, it tastes so good so no matter how much you eat, you can never get satisfied.

Q: If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
A: I would want to meet Steve Jobs because I have the same personality type as him.