Art at Heart

Mrs. English joins the St. George’s community


Photo: Spencer Cotham

Mrs. English works on her personal art project. Mrs. English joined the St. George’s community this year as a new art teacher.

If the students of St. George’s are ever looking to expand their knowledge of art, paint a picture or just to talk to a friendly face, they now have the opportunity to go to the art room and find Mrs. Gwendolyn English, the new upper school art teacher. Mrs. English has taught students in many departments of art for years, so she knows her way around an art room. She taught at Hutchison for 15 years, but before that, she lived in Chicago, pursuing her dream of being an artist. Now at St. George’s, Mrs. English was inspired by the school’s message and mission.

“The thing that I loved about St. George’s was not just the environment that the school was in and the mission of transformative diversity, but also their commitment to the visual arts,” Mrs. English said. “I really felt like it was a school that is trying to put its energy behind training any student in something that they would love to do.”

Mrs. English has already been making waves among the students and faculty with her kindness, positivity and talent. Blair Smithwick, a senior involved with the art community for many years, says that Mrs. English is a perfect fit for St. George’s.

“I think Mrs. English is very, very passionate about her job,” Smithwick said. “She’s really hands-on while she’s teaching, and she usually does the same assignment she assigns to us.”

The faculty is excited to welcome Mrs. English into the school community as well. Mrs. Webb, another art teacher at St. George’s, worked with former art teacher Ms. Rose Doherty as well as Mrs. English, and acknowledges the benefits that can come from a new art teacher.

“I think it’s wonderful for the students, especially for the students that have had both, to be able to get a different perspective,” Mrs. Webb said.

Commitment to the art community is a key component to the role of an art teacher, and Mrs. Webb believes that Mrs. English is the perfect person for the role.

“She is passionate about what she does, and she is a wonderful advocate for the arts both here at St. George’s and in the greater Memphis area,” Mrs. Webb said.

Mrs. Webb believes that while Mrs. English is different from Ms. Rose, she still fits very well into the St. George’s community. Not all art teachers share the same skills, further providing students with a different perspective of art.

“All art teachers have different strengths,” Mrs. Webb said, “so, where Ms. Rose’s strengths were a lot of abstract design and a lot of drawing, Mrs. English really likes to focus on bookmaking, painting, ceramics, things like that.”

The St. George’s community is happy to welcome Mrs. English into her new position and will be sure to help her learn the many ins and outs of the school. Mrs. English is excited to be working within the St. George’s art community and will always have her door open, in case a student wants to say hello.