"The Queen of Flash and Trash" will forever be remembered at Mandan High School.

Not for her big hair, long purple fingernails and hippie spirit, but because of the mark she made on art education in her 27 years there.

Diane Boschee died in November at age 70. She had battled cancer for several years.

"She was pretty much legend status around here," said John Gieser, the current art teacher at MHS and a 1998 graduate of the school.

Gieser and some of Boschee's students and friends are planning a memorial for her at the high school on June 9. Pieces of her own artwork and her personal collections will also be sold there and online, with half the proceeds going to the school's art department.

Boschee's brother, Bill Schmidt, of Sheridan, Wyo., said Boschee received more than 80 cards while she was in hospice care in Las Vegas, including some from students, with each card stating how much of an influence Boschee was.

After Boschee died, Schmidt had hundreds of pieces of her artwork — paintings, sculptures, scrimshaw ostrich eggs. He donated more than $2,400 worth of Boschee's art supplies to MHS. Then, Boschee's former students got involved in planning the memorial and art sale.

"We really don't want the memorial and auction to be a sorrowful thing. We should celebrate her life as opposed to anything else," said Gieser, who has been the art teacher at MHS for four years.

Boschee taught for 34 years in Mandan, Wisconsin and Las Vegas. She taught at MHS from 1974 to 2001.

Gieser says Boschee was the reason he wanted to become an art teacher. In his classes today, he incorporates a lot of what she taught.

"I try to embody her spirit the best I can. They are large shoes to fill, but I still do certain kinds of projects, units or artwork that we used to do when I was here, so I feel like her spirit still lives, it's just a little bit different now," he said.

Boschee's family and friends remember her as a free-spirited hippie. She was brutally honest and had a great sense of humor. Students flocked to her.

"She talked the language of these kids; she connected with them, and she was a free spirit and not only taught them things about art and artists, but the real world," said Pat Pins, a former teacher at MHS and friend of Boschee's.

Gieser said her art students were referred to as "Boschee's brats." While teaching in Mandan, Boschee took her students on 19 trips to Europe to study art.

Gieser said the memorial and art sale is a way to support the art program in which Boschee was so instrumental. When Boschee started teaching in Mandan, the art classes consisted of an English teacher showing kids how to make some ceramics. When she left for Las Vegas in 2001, there were three tiers of classes.

"Without her I wouldn't have a job, I wouldn't have a program," Gieser said.

The memorial and art sale for Boschee will take place June 9 at Mandan High School, with a memorial service in the school auditorium from 10 a.m. to noon and the sale in the cafeteria from 12:30 to 5 p.m.

An online art auction will be open until 3 p.m. June 9. For more information, visit www.32auctions.com/boscheebenefit2018.

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Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com.


Education and Health Reporter