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Irving High School Teacher Displays Artwork at Irving Arts Center

Jon Fontenot

Jon Fontenot, a veteran educator with 23 years of service in the Irving Independent School District, is showcasing his artistic talent in a new exhibition at the Irving Arts Center. Titled Fontenot’s Pathways and Influences: Paintings by Jon Fontenot, the exhibit features 26 of Fontenot's landscape and color field paintings.

Fontenot, who has dedicated his entire teaching career to Irving High School, expressed his excitement about sharing his artwork with both his students and the wider community. The exhibition, hosted at the Dupree Lobby Gallery, will run until June 1.

“When you’re in a gallery in Deep Ellum or the Arts District, you don’t want the kids going there, it’s a very adult area,” says Fontenot. “My work has traditionally been exhibited either in Dallas or Fort Worth. To be able to meet in the middle, here in Irving, and to finally be exhibiting in a space where I would feel comfortable encouraging my teenage students to come, means a lot.”

What makes Fontenot’s art pieces even more unique is how he went about painting them. Prior to starting this collection, Fontenot suffered a double compound fracture due to a broken radius and ulna in his right arm. Rather than letting this set him back, he learned to paint with his left hand, while his right hand healed. “It forced me into doing works that I normally wouldn’t do because I was just trying to train my left hand,” says Fontenot. “That mindset allowed me to push the idea in my head into fruition”.

Although all the works on display were ultimately painted with his right hand, this experience shaped his artistic process and perspective.

"A lot of our teachers are professionals in their own right. For students to be able to see it in reverse, as often as possible, it is great for their development," says Fontenot.

The exhibition reception is scheduled for Friday, March 29, from 6 to 8 PM at the Irving Arts Center. For more information about Fontenot and his artwork, visit

"To finally be able to blend my private career with my public career; it’s a very unique experience," says Fontenot.

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