FWSSR Fall Newsletter

Ranch work relegated his artistic pursuits to an occasional Sunday afternoon where he drew mostly cattle portraits. Encouraged by Suzy, Mike eventually decided a rendition of a popular Beefmaster bull he drew might generate a sale. He tested the water with the bull’s owner who not only bought it on the spot but commissioned the young artist to draw another. The encouragement sparked a serious side-gig of painting and sculpting as more opportunities to paint and draw came steadily along including two covers for The Cattleman magazine. Through the 80s, his art took an increasingly larger role in Tabor’s life. Thus, when an art teaching job at nearby Granbury High School came open, he jumped at the chance to step back into the classroom and share his passion and insights with youth while continuing to grow as an artist himself. With 27 years of teaching now under his belt, Tabor is ready to devote more time to his personal painting and sculpting. Still, he’s proud of his students’ growth and accomplishments.. “I’ve been blessed to have kids that, when given a challenge, have always risen to the occasion,” said Tabor. “They’ve always given me their best. What I’m most proud of is that we’ve been able to create an atmosphere of success in the Fine Arts Department. Our work has given our students the tools they need to be successful in an ever-changing [field] that needs creative and talented people. I’m going to miss the kids and the other art teachers - not seeing their faces there every day.” When asked what advice he’d give to ‘the other art teachers,’ he quickly responds, “learn about the kids and their lives. You’ll find the art studio becomes a sanctuary for a lot of these students. Listen to them and let them learn about your life, too. Your shared passion for making good art will become something you have in common.” Success hasn’t been limited to Tabor’s students. Recent commissions for his work - both paintings and sculptures - highlight his unique abilities with canvas and clay. “Although I’m retiring from the classroom, things are falling into place for me to keep producing art,” he said. “I’ve never been busier with projects than I am right now.” 4 Since 2011, no teacher has experienced greater success at the Fort Worth Stock Show’s Art Contest than Granbury High School art instructor, Mike Tabor. When the Show’s Guns and Roses committee took the contest to new heights that year, scholarships and educational grants to school art programs brought in entries from across the state. Although the competitive level intensified, Tabor had come into his own as a mentor to art students and they’ve been dominant competitors ever since. Winning eight of the last nine high school classroom division competitions, his students have hauled in $12,000 for Granbury High School to purchase much needed equipment and supplies for the program. In addition, his students have also taken two individual grand championships and a combined total of $20,000 in scholarship monies. After a 27-year career, the teacher, who is also an accomplished artist himself, will retire next spring. TABOR’S ROAD TO CONTEST SUCCESS WAS LONG & WINDING From an early age, he was drawn not only to art, but also to ranching and the cowboy way of life. After graduating from Tarleton State University in 1981 with bachelor’s degrees in both Art Education and Physical Education, he took an art teaching job at Richland Hills High School. But the lure of tending to land and livestock was strong and he soon found a job managing a ranch near Glen Rose, Texas. Tabor and his new bride, Suzy, headed for the hills of Somervell County to put down roots and start a family. 2018 Granbury High School Classroom Entry 2019 Granbury High School Classroom Entry ART TEACHER CAPS SUCCESSFUL CAREER