Hired by former Poly headmaster Willis Stork in 1974 when she was right out of college, Lower School art teacher Tricia Marrs is Poly’s longest tenured faculty member. During the 41 years she has been teaching at Poly, Marrs has worked for seven heads of school, has witnessed new construction (including the Garland Fine Arts Center and the Poly pool), read the first issue of The Paw Print, celebrated the school’s centennial, and saw the launch and completion of Poly’s largest capital campaign and campus development project. Through it all, there is one thing that hasn’t changed: She drives the same car, her treasured 1970 blue Camaro SS, which still has its original transmission.
Marrs' love for what she does is palpable. "I believe I have the best job in the school," she says. "The longer I've stayed at Poly, the more I've liked it."
She starts off students with the basics of art, introducing Lower School students to painting and working with ceramics and using chalk, charcoal, and pencils. She guides students as they explore the works of famous artists, such as O'Keefe, Calder, Kandinski, Matisse, Picasso, Monet, and more.
When creating her curriculum, Marrs incorporates concepts and topics that students are learning in their other classes. For instance, first-graders who are learning about gardening in science paint the fabled watercolor sunflowers in art class. Third grade students, who are introduced to string instruments, paint pictures of violins and cellos which then grace the walls of the music room. Fourth-graders, who are learning about the state of California in history, paint California relief maps, quails, and poppies. They also paint and frame tiles that feature some of the state's missions.
Marrs has taught art to hundreds of Lower School students during her years at Poly, first demonstrating to them the task at hand, then working with them to create the final project. Her students’ work could often be viewed in display cases, the hallways of administration buildings, and in the exhibits in the Poly Pet and Hobby Show. See more photos
of Tricia Marrs, her students, and their work.