For nearly 40 years, Eva Kearney has dedicated her life to teaching art at the high school level, 28 of those years being spent at Winthrop High School. The combination of her love of art and her passion for teaching has made her career choice an easy one, and she has a long list of experience and memories within the hallways of WHS, that will follow her into her retirement.
“I have always loved art – every aspect of it! And I love teaching students. I knew, as far back as my own high school days that I wanted to put art and teaching together to make my career. I wanted to share and try to instill my own enthusiasm for art in my students.”
Often wearing her love for art literally on her sleeve, through artsy clothing and accessories, Kearney has been a unique blend of seriousness, humor, drama, positivity, discipline, study, experimentation, encouragement, mutual respect, example and guidance, for the many students that she has had the pleasure of teaching over the years.
“I have always tried to create an environment in my classroom that echoed my own sentiments and promoted art as a serious subject and a necessity for the well-rounded (20th and) 21st century student. I have always tried to help my students to open their eyes, their hearts and their souls to not only all forms of art and artists of past and present, but also to the beauty, design and potential in the world around them.”
In recent years Kearney has tried to show her students that artists are much like magicians – with the right tools, skills and ideas, they can make something from practically nothing; with simple supplies they can create something of interest, of worth, of expression and of meaning. According to Kearney, an artistic creation can capture or represent a favorite place, a treasured pet, an important personal item or a favorite food. The mundane or ordinary can become extraordinary.
During her time molding young artists in Winthrop, Kearney was also an active member of the Winthrop Art Association, she’s worked for seven superintendents, eight principals at the high School, and a myriad of School Committees.
“I have also worked alongside a cadre of wonderful colleagues, many of whom have become lifelong friends.”
As Kearney ventures off into retirement, she will continue her life as an artist and plans to spend time taking photographs, drawing, composing and perfecting her watercolors.
“I also love to travel, and I look forward to being able to do that again soon. I also look forward to enjoying life at my own pace, with my husband, both here in Winthrop and in our small retreat in Florida.”
More than anything, Kearney will miss interacting with her students and guiding them into finding their own artistic voices, however; she will continue to stay in touch with former students who have grown into artists as adults.
“Hopefully, in the 28 years at Winthrop High School, and additionally in my years teaching before that, I have opened a few minds, helped formulate skills and encouraged ideas and dreams and instilled in my students the ability to see and use Art in any of those ways or more. I am grateful to have been able to spend the bulk of my career here in Winthrop. It is truly a unique and wonderful place to live and work. This school system enabled me to become the Art Teacher I always wanted to be.”