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Arts and Entertainment

Your Art Teacher Deserves Some Love. Nominate Them For A Story

Animator and illustrator Sanjay Patel and his high school teacher at San Bernardino High Julie Tabler reunited at our studios at KPCC. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)
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Do you have an art teacher who made an impact on your life?

If so, I want to hear from you.

I'm Carla Javier. I report stories about arts education on the radio for KPCC and here on LAist, and I'm on a search for stories about inspirational teachers.

I want to hear about teachers like Julie Tabler, whose care and guidance helped a former student follow his passion and make a career out of art.

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When film animator and illustrator Sanjay Patel first met Tabler, she was teaching art at San Bernardino High School, and Patel was a quiet freshman in her class. He graduated in 1992.

Fast forward to 2015, a Pixar short film inspired by Patel's childhood, which he wrote and directed, was released. The following year, that film - Sanjay's Super Team - was nominated for an Oscar.

Patel - whose body of work includes "Monsters, Inc.," "The Incredibles" and other animated classics - said he's grateful for the art lessons from Tabler and for the personal support she showed him over the years, including sending him care packages of clothes and food in college.

"I don't think I would've ever had the words to ask for that level of love, support, and care," Patel told Tabler. "But I really needed it in that time of my life."

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You can listen to their story on KPCC, or watch them reunite in the video below.

If you are working in the arts and entertainment industry today, I want to hear your stories about the teachers who got you there. Share your story in the form below. I read every single submission that comes in - and I may contact you and your teacher for a future story!

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And if you are a teacher and you have a student who ended up becoming successful in arts and entertainment, I'd love to hear from you, too. Head over to this page to share your memories of your students with me.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at

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