Cindy Marso is retiring from BG schools.

J.D. Pooley | Sentinel-Tribune

Cindy Marso will hang up her art smock and put away her watercolors at Bowling Green Middle School at the end of this year.

Marso announced in September her intent to retire July 1. She has been an art instructor in Bowling Green City Schools for 23 years and is ending her career at the middle school.

Marso started teaching art at Conneaut Elementary in 1999 and moved to the middle school after 2014.

“I always did art, even when I was little,” Marso said. “My mom always bought me art supplies for birthday presents and Christmas presents.

“I just grew up with it.”

She also gave credit to her art teachers, including former instructor Becky Laabs, who “got me hooked into it. It just was always part of my life.”

She enjoys working with enameling on copper.

“It was a challenge of learning how to do it, having that two-second window when it reaches viscosity, which just means it melts and fuses to the copper or it burns up and it gets ruined.

“It’s exciting because you’re dealing with technology, you’re dealing with other things than just drawing on a piece of paper,” Marso said.

She uses an electric kiln at home.

Marso was a painter in undergraduate school and did a lot of watercolors and acrylics and for her graduate degree she focused on jewelry and enameling.

Her seventh graders finished drawing life-sized band and orchestra instruments in October, which she said is one of her favorite lessons.

Marso stresses drawing and shading, so they’re ready for high school art.

Her students also do a lot of watercolor and tempura painting and working to scale, including taking miniature candy bars and enlarging them in their artwork.

“Trying to pull common, ordinary things you’d see at the grocery store and make them into art is a little Andy Warhol and art history, too,” Marso said.

She enters her eighth graders’ art in competitions, including the Peace poster contest for the Portage Lion’s Club and the Safety Kids contest through the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office. At state, she enters artwork in the Youth Art Month competition.

Her students’ artwork tends to dominate the window at Grounds for Thought downtown.

She hopes her eighth graders leave her class knowing they gave 100% every day and that being good in art means not giving up.

Most of her grading rubric is effort, she said.

A South Dakota native, Marso grew up in Bowling Green and graduated in 1978 from Bowling Green High School. She taught in Texas for a year after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Master of Fine Arts degree.

“There weren’t any jobs in the ’80s,” Marso explained as her reason for moving from Ohio to Texas.

She had attended a job fair at BGSU and the people from Texas were welcoming.

“Texans are the nicest people in the world, and I loved it.”

Marso said she moved back because she missed her mother.

“My husband was like, ‘We’re moving back? We just got here,’” she remembered.

Her husband is Dave Breen, who is the roaster at Grounds for Thought Coffee Roasting Company.

One of Marso’s former students was her son, Nick, who is finishing college with a degree in environmental policy.

In retirement, her goal is to visit every national park.

She’ll visit the ones in South Dakota first, so she can spend time with family.

“I plan on doing art for the rest of my life. I will continue making copper enamel art and I would like to do watercolors on sight at the National Parks.”