Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Kenealy

Encourages students to approach art diligently, with an open mind

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Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Kenealy

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Ms. Kenealy has nearly completed her first year teaching art at Abington High School.  The classes she teaches are Digital Design, Art Studio, Sculpture I and II and Portfolio.  Ms. Kenealy is originally from Bridgewater and she is a graduate of Bridgewater High School and Bridgewater State University (Class of 2006).

She has held many different jobs before realizing she wanted to become an art teacher.  At first, Ms. Kenealy thought she wanted to be a sports newscaster, but she eventually realized that she did not love sports as much as she thought she did. “(As time went on) my art background really drove me towards the decision to work in art,” said Ms. Kenealy. She says she “did many different jobs in art such as an art preparator (a person who ensures that art is safely handled and cared for while being delivered, displayed or moved), gallery coordinator on Newbury Street in Boston, and an outreach manager at a local museum. All these experiences led me to a career as an art teacher. I’m happy that I had such a diverse start before becoming a teacher,” said Ms. Kenealy.

It’s okay to feel intimidated by something new, but don’t let that sway you from trying.”

— Ms. Kenealy

Most recently, she taught in the Brockton school district, at Brockton High School and in several elementary schools.  Now that she works at AHS, she says the best part of her job is “getting to help students creatively problem solve.”  Ms. Kenealy enjoys watching students thinking through how they are going to do something, and also why they are creating a particular project.  “All projects should have a personal investment in order to be successful,” said Ms. Kenealy.

So what artists have inspired her? Ms. Kenealy says that some of her favorite sculptors are Tara Donovan, Anish Kapoor, Deborah Butterfield, Anne Lemanski, and Vivian Beer.  She likes Donovan and Kapoor because they are “artists that think grandly.”  She enjoys Butterfield because of her driftwood sculptures of horses that look “graceful and fluid.”  Lemanski is one of her favorites because of her “colorful conceptual animals” that are made “of armatures with sewn skins.”  Finally, Ms. Kenealy likes the local New England artist Beer (who makes furniture), because she is “hardcore and uses metal and candy colored paint to make her pieces pop.”

To prospective artists/students who may feel intimidated by the thought of taking an art class, she says “It’s okay to feel intimidated by something new, but don’t let that sway you from trying it. Many students are surprised that they enjoy and even do well with working with their hands. But, don’t confuse my class with something ‘easy;’ I have high expectations that all students are working to the best of their ability and are focused during class. We will have a chance to use many different materials, so if you don’t like one, work hard, finish the project and focus on the next one. Most likely, the next project will be drastically different. Come visit if you still aren’t sure, I can show you some of the student work and talk to you about it.”

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