Students in four grades will be taking part in a new art program this year. Led by Maegan Shipp – a St. Patrick parent and current staff member – this art class is expected to incorporate different mediums and introduce a faith element to students’ work.
“I am hoping that every final project will be Catholic-oriented,” Maegan explains. For instance, she envisions students maybe making a giant rosary that can be used to decorate the hallway or creating something that can be auctioned off during the annual Parish Festival. “I feel like the potential is so unlimited,” she says.
Maegan already teaches art to transitional kindergarten, and this new program will incorporate four additional classes: kindergarten, 1st, 5th and 6th grades.
For kindergarten and 1st grade, this new class will be in addition to the art class currently offered by Ms. Coffman, who teaches art through a shared teaching arrangement. Students in these grades will have a second day of class with Ms. Coffman as well. With numerous studies linking the arts to academic and social improvements, we continue to look for ways to expand and promote participation in the arts at St. Patrick School.
Our band program is transitioning to a new instructor this year who will split her time between St. Patrick School and All Saints Academy. With the new schedule, 5th and 6th grade will not have band daily during the upcoming year, but on days when band is not offered, students will have art with Mrs. Shipp.
Meet Maegan Shipp: Our Newest Art Teacher
Existing St. Patrick School families are probably well-acquainted with Maegan Shipp. A mother of four, her girls attend St. Patrick School, and Maegan has spent several years working as a child enrichment specialist with our before and after care and summer care programs.
What you might not know is that Maegan is also an accomplished artist. “You can’t look down a hallway at St. Pat’s without seeing something I’ve done,” she says. That’s because Maegan has generously volunteered her time and talent to make posters, flyers and signs for the school. Although she excels at graphic design, her first love was drawing.
“As a child, my dream job was to draw for Disney,” she says. Maegan remembers watching The Little Mermaid when she was 4 or 5 and then going home to draw the main character Ariel over and over and over again.
After high school, she spent one year studying at Kendall College of Art and Design before transferring to the Southwest University of Visual Arts in Arizona. She graduated there with a bachelor’s degree in animation with a specialization in 3-D art modeling. Maegan explains that while she loves drawing characters, she discovered she had an aptitude for modeling 3-D environments such as those you might see in the background of animated movies.
Maegan and her husband eventually returned to Michigan, and her work shifted from animation to graphic design. However, she has retained a love of all art and the nuances that many people might not know. “Black and grey aren’t actually colors,” she says as an example. “They are tints and tone.”
In her class, Maegan hopes to help students understand arts concepts as well as experiment with a variety of mediums. For instance, she would love to eventually have a kiln in which students could fire pottery. Maegan also plans to incorporate some art history with an emphasis on Catholic artists and hopes students will end the year with a digital portfolio that can be easily shared with parents.
“I want kids to see how fun art can be, how therapeutic it can be, how freeing it can be,” she says.
Beyond that, Maegan notes that almost nothing would exist without art. Everything from architecture to engineering includes a design component. Her hope for this art class is that students will not only learn to appreciate the arts but also gain skills and knowledge that they can take with them to whatever career they pursue in the future.