October 2009 - This story is a part of a photojournalism workshop called "A Weekend at Murphysboro." For more stories or to learn more about the workshop, visit southof64.com

Story Introduction
Over the course of six days, Beth Smout teaches art to approximately 1,000 elementary students in Kindergarten through fifth grade in Murphysboro, IL. She splits her time between the towns two public elementary schools traveling back and forth throughout the week. She says two things motivate her in her classroom. First is her love for children, and second is her love for teaching them how to use different materials and techniques and then seeing their excitement for what they create.

On her own time, Beth enjoys painting and drawing and often has more than one project going at a time. In their home pottery studio, Beth and her husband Gene collaborate on potter pieces together. They enjoy different parts of the process, Gene the symmetry of the potters wheel and the problem solving aspects of design and developing the right glaze while Beth enjoys designing and altering pieces through carving or adding carved pieces to something that Gene has thrown for her.

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