I recently had the privilege of showing an art piece at the opening reception and dedication of the Chris Wagner Arts Center, at the Shipley School. Chris Wagner was my favorite high school teacher —actually all time favorite teacher, so I was thrilled that Shipley was naming their new state-of-the-art arts facility after such a deserved and loved mentor. I was among 56 of Ms. Wagner’s art students to participate (alumni from 1978 to 2011, spanning most of her 37 years at Shipley as an art teacher and head of the art department).
The reception was lovely, with many accolades and amusing stories about this tough, brazen woman who challenged her students to excel, as well as challenged the private school administration and faculty. I learned many things in her classroom, not all about art, but about life, strength, and courage to succeed. The art techniques I learned from Chris have carried me through life, and I continue to pursue many of these on a regular basis —graphic design, jewelry, photography, painting. So, thank you Chris. And thank you Shipley for acknowledging such a wonderful individual.