Enriching Lives

Mark Liebergall is a man of diverse and passionate interests. Artist, dancer, tai chi practitioner, teacher, student and outdoor enthusiast, Mark is constantly learning, but he is also a perennial teacher. He believes firmly that talents and interests are meant to be shared with others and since he was a child, Mark has enriched his own life by enriching others.

Mark began his life in Brooklyn, NY where he was president of his student body. He excelled in academia and recalls, “In my high school math class-because I was an honors student-I would teach the other students who were struggling in math; that is my first memory of being actively involved in teaching.” Compelled by the feeling of helping, Mark began to understand that he had “a knack for simplifying things for people and making connections with the things they understand.” During the summers of his college years, he was part of a program that received grant money to teach High School math teachers a new mathematical discipline called symbolic logic.

Though adept and motivated as a math tutor, Mark was also passionate about the arts. He grew up painting with his mother and later developed an interest in modern dance. After college, Mark and a college friend opened a gallery and coffee shop in Yellow Springs, Ohio where he taught modern dance. “Every time you teach a class, you have to do it. So it was a way of disciplining myself.” Eventually, Mark returned to art and to New York where he helped an art mentor teach art classes to disadvantaged children living in difficult circumstances, “I really enjoyed that; it was challenging because they were coming from a challenging world. There were often tensions in class between students but somehow I managed to smooth things over.” Typical of Mark’s infectious ability to communicate understanding, a few of those students became artists later in life.

Ultimately, Mark spent his professional career as a graphic artist until retiring with his wife to the Hudson Valley where he founded The 14th Colony Artists Group, a name derived from a 1976 Lakeville Journal article which described the adjoining parts of Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts as the “14th” colony due to their significant contributions to the American Revolutionary war effort. “When you’re an artist in the city, you often meet other artists at gallery openings or parties and it doesn’t happen as much in a rural setting.” So Mark made it his mission to bring the many talented local artists together. Soon, artists of all kinds found themselves interacting at gatherings and local showings. The 14th Colony Artists is a thriving collective which exhibits at Noble Horizons every spring.

Coupling his background in dance with his ongoing quest for new experiences, Mark fortuitously combined his accomplishments as a Tai Chi practitioner with his love for teaching. Mark has taught Tai Chi locally for a few years, all the while, taking classes himself to further refine and improve his own skills. His free, weekly Tai Chi class at Noble Horizons includes something for every experience level, “What is so gratifying is to see the class members interacting with each other so often. That is one of the things that the Tai Chi we teach here accomplishes; health wise, just simple interactions with anyone are important as we age.”

Through his many years of experience, Mark has come to understand that the fundamental nature of teaching stems from learning first, “One of the things I love to do is pass things on when I learn them, and I believe everyone can do that. You don’t have to be in an institution to teach or learn, so if you know something that you think is valuable, you should share that with people.”

 

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