The Regina Dominican fine arts department encourages and enables students to and new ways of perceiving their world and to examine their relationship to it through art, dance, drama and music. It also fosters essential skills like innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. The heart of our fine arts department is Shannon Murray, our fine arts department chair, art teacher, National Art Honor Society and art club moderator. She has been working in the fine arts department at Regina Dominican for 12 years.
Creative Starts Here
A bulletin board welcomes you to Shannon’s classroom with the words “Creativity Starts Here.” Murray is known, among her students and fellow faculty members, for putting a strong individual focus on each child. Murray says she cannot imagine teaching art and NOT focusing on the individual, “You have to realize that everyone is coming in with a completely different background. Their experience in art is varied. I want every student to leave with a personal sense
of success. They are measured against themselves and no one else.”
Madison MacBain ’15, Regina Dominican medalist in art, is minoring in art in college and reflected on the wonderful learning experience she had under Mrs. Murray, “When it came to creativity she never really said no. No project idea was too much, no idea was too crazy, Mrs. Murray would try her best to help you and a way to make your ideas come to life.”
Since Murray’s start in the fine arts department 12 years ago she has worked hard to make it a more collaborative department. “It is easy for fine arts students to work independently because we all do things so differently. Some art, music and theater for example, is performance-based and some are product based. As a group we have started to understand that we need to function collaboratively,” Murray stated.
One example of this collaboration is the Fine Arts Showcase, which Murray spearheaded as an opportunity for our community to celebrate all of our art students. Murray’s hope for the future is to create even more collaboration. And not just within the fine arts departments, but with other academic departments as well, “Problem-solving is the basis of every single one art. That should be and can be translated into every academic course.” Murray also noted that she hopes the fine arts department will expand into having more AP courses in the future.
Regina Dominican’s size and all-girl community create a strong sense of camaraderie in the fine arts classes. “Having to perform or share within a group can be intimidating but to have a strong sense of safety and to have their work be respected is very beneficial,” Murray stated. Regina has seen an increase in our graduates attending art schools and majoring in art. Murray says, “Our population is pretty driven and we are able to give individual attention due to our small class sizes. My students
are not going to go to art schools if they are not both talented and hard working. There is something that happens when they are able to see success in themselves that they may have not seen before.”
Iris Flores, mother of current art student Peyton Flores ’18 said, “I discovered early that Mrs. Murray had the ability
to recognize our daughter’s strengths and weaknesses. She has continued
to push our daughter and challenged her to step out of her comfort zone.” Murray’s former student, MacBain adds, “To this day I look to Mrs. Murray for advice, whether it be art-related or things more on a personal level. She genuinely cares about all of her students past and present, and that is something you do not often see.”
Murray says, “There is nothing better than having a class that cares about what they are doing and I get to see that multiple times a day. When they are invested, it is easy for me to be invested in them. I love to come up with a solution together. When it is exciting for them, it is exciting for me!”