Community Arts Partner

Participant Details

Community Arts Partner Name
Sharon Birzer
Partner Type
Profile Photo
Individual Bio or
Organizational Statement

Sharon Birzer is a Natural Science Illustrator and Teaching Artist whose work is inspired by observations made in the diverse ecosystems of the Northwest. She is passionate about teaching art to youth and teaches Integrated Lesson plans and workshops. She has taught art in Seattle Public Schools, with Arts Corps, the Frye Art Museum, The National Botanical Gardens in Maui, the University of WA Center for Urban Horticulture, Evergreen College and other schools and institutions. She has worked with Curators at the Burke Museum of Natural History on arachnid illustrations for a publication. Her illustrations have been included in books and publications. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Northwest and around the country. Birzer holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts and an MFA from the University of Washington. She completed the Natural Science Illustration Program at the UW, and completed ArtsWA Teaching Artist Training Lab, Washington State Arts Commission.

Contact Information

First Name
Last Name
4135 52nd Ave SW
Address 2
206 601 4142

Grade Levels Preferred

Grade Levels Preferred
K-2, 3rd - 5th

Artistic Disciplines


Natural Science Illustration Observational Drawing Painting Graphic Novel lessons

Visual Art, Art and Science Integrated Lessons


Previous School Partnerships
Baily Gatzert Graham Hill White Center Heights Elementary School Highline Schools  
Other Trainings or Certifications
BFA, Cornish College of the Arts MFA, University of Washington Natural Science Illustration Certificate, University of Washington TAT lab graduate
Sample Lesson Description: Student / Classroom Residencies
Graphic Novel Project
  • Title:
  • My graphic novel is about:  ____________________________________________________
  • The main character is:  ____________________________________________________
  • The climax of the story occurs when: ____________________________________________________
  • The resolution of my narrative story occurs when: ____________________________________________________
  • I am excited about this story because
  • My story will take place over 9 frames. Attached are my rough sketches:
2. Arts Corps Unit / Class Plan Teaching Artist: Sharon Birzer Course Title: Observational Drawing Grade Level: 1-5 Materials & Space: Multi purpose room, white letter size paper, wax paper, graphite and colored pencils, pressed dries leaves, string for binding Course Description: (What is my class about?) This class will focus on fun creative activities where the kids can express themselves through the mediums of painting, printmaking, drawing and collage. I will often introduce an element of observation of the natural world into each lesson. I am committed to arts education as a tool for social justice. “Big Idea” (What’s the point of this class / unit?): Drawing and painting skills and techniques. I strive to impart curiosity, and an interest and love for nature through exercises in drawing, painting, collage, and murals. The students will create a "leaf booklet." Learning Objectives What I want my students to know and be able to do, (arts skills and creative habits). Observational drawing techniques will be taught and practiced. Book binding techniques. Assessment Criteria What I will observe in my students that let me know they are understanding my objectives, (traits that can be seen and/or heard).
  1. draw what you see
  2. learn about nature through observation
  3. enjoy creating your own art work and your own book
Important Vocabulary: line, form, texture, color, drawing, observation, composition, nature, leaves Session 1 Introductions. I read a book to the kids called "The Leaf Man", which had good examples of images created from leaves. Then we made leaf art collages on 11 x 17 " construction paper. The students did rubbings of some pressed leaves I brought in. They put leaves directly on the paper with glue. They drew around these with crayons, adding color. They learned about texture and about form. Then we all looked at each others work and the students shared what they noticed/liked in the other students art. We made a display, we hung all collages up on the bulletin board. compose, glue, draw, rubbing, listen, share Session 2 I read a book titled: "What a Leaf Can Be". The kids also read some pages aloud. Then I passed out paper and one leaf to each student. I demonstrated an observational drawing technique and they all worked on drawing their own leaves with graphite pencils. Each child also did a rubbing of their leaves on tracing paper. This page with the drawing and rubbing will become the inside pages of a small leaf book. Then each student brought up their leaf and pressed it in between 2 pieces of waxed paper to make a window. This will become the cover of their books. compose, glue, draw, rubbing, listen, share, making a booklet
Sample Workshop Description: Teacher Professional Development

Areas of Experience and Expertise

Approved Professional Development Provider
Approved Classroom Residency Provider
Experience with English Language Learners
Experience with Students in Special Education

Lesson Plan

Integrated Art
Cultural Art

Teaching Approach

Teaching Philosophy + Approach

Now more than ever children need access to quality learning opportunities in the arts. Involvement in the arts gives young people —who are aware of an enormous amount of imagery— tools to comprehend it, and to connect what they see with what they can create themselves. Involvement in the arts can help students build more positive self concepts. Participation in the arts can help each student see the new possibilities that thinking creatively can offer for their future.

I am a Teaching Artist in Seattle Public Schools and I’m a member of the Community Arts Partner Roster created by The Office of Arts & Culture, in collaboration with Seattle Public Schools. I also teach with Arts Corps with a range of age groups, recently with grades 1-5. I teach art at the post secondary level, and teach Scientific Illustration workshops for adults and for educators.

Curriculum Integration Possibilities
Art (drawing and painting) + Science Art (drawing and painting) + Language Arts
Special Skills and Areas of Expertise

I have taught Scientific Illustration and Botanical Illustration at the Frye Art Museum in conjunction with Seattle University, to adults and teachers for continuing education clock hours.

Testimonials from Schools

Visala Hohlbein

Fifth grade teacher, Bailey Gatzert

Andrea Gardner, MA Ed

Extended Day Outcomes Coordinator, Highline Schools


75. per hour approx.


Image Description
Student working on potato prints for booklet.
Image Description
Crafting the Graphic Novel, Integrated Art and Language Art Lesson Plan
Image Description
Demo, Botanical Illustration, Frye Art Museum, Youth, Student & Teachers Program
Image Description
'Habitat' Mural, Visual Art at White Center Heights, grades 1-3
Image Description
Leaf Booklets, Visual Art at Graham Hill, grades 2-3


Video Description
Video Description
Video Description