Julie Fleming hung up her classroom chalkboard a decade ago to begin a retirement career as a video-online teacher. Her goal was to restore the elementary school art education she saw disappearing from public schools.
But as the coronavirus has closed schools throughout the nation and parents are being required to replace trained teachers, her videos are finding their way into homes.
Fleming, who grew up in Idaho, attended classes at the University of Houston and received her bachelor of science degree from California State University, Bakersfield, and taught art in the Panama Buena Vista School District for two decades.
Along the way, the mother of two now-adult children painted professionally in Houston before she and her husband, Mick, moved to Bakersfield. Working in both oil and acrylics, her art has been shown at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and Metro Galleries. She served five years on the museum’s board of directors and continues to teach art classes through the Bakersfield Art Association.
But it was her ongoing concern about her former students and future ones that prompted her to launch ARTime, her video art instruction business.
“I realized that what I was doing in the classroom could have a much broader reach and make art available to schools, where funding for a full- or part-time art teacher was just not an option,” she said, noting that her ARTime videos also are used by home-schooling families.
“Art is not something everyone can teach,” she said, explaining how ARTime can be especially useful to families now isolated in their homes by the pandemic.
Fleming began filming and test-driving her videos a year before she retired. She then marketed the first box of DVD art lessons to local schools. They quickly became so popular that she produced a second series of lessons.
Consultants with the Small Business Development Center at CSU Bakersfield have assisted Fleming with setting up her business and marketing plans.
More than 100 volumes have been sold primarily through word-of-mouth recommendations from teachers for use in their classrooms. About 50 volumes have been purchased by Bakersfield schools, another 25 by the Los Angeles Unified School District and the balance by schools in six states.
ARTime videos bring classroom-tested art education into a classroom at the teacher’s convenience for a fraction of the cost of a full- or even part-time teacher. The lessons are designed for specific grade levels and teach art concepts and skills based on standards set by the state. Information about ARTime can be obtained online at www.artbymissjulie.com or by emailing Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org. ￼