Art teacher shares his passion

McGreal inspires students to examine their lives


Dania Owens

Sophomore Dania Owens draws a figure for Mr. McGreal’s class.

Abigail Miller, Co-Editor in Chief

The photographs in his father’s darkroom brought art into teacher Micheal McGreal’s life as a child.

“My first art memories were in the darkroom, with the safe light on, and him dropping stuff in chemicals and hanging them on lines,” he said. “And that’s kind of how it got started.”

Most of his early exposure to art took place in elementary school at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where he took classes that “fostered a love for art in me.” This love for creativity has been growing ever since.

“I’m really curious about how things are made,” McGreal said, “how artists create what they make, whether that’s an illustration, a painting, a sculpture, a movie.”

His enthusiasm for art goes beyond himself. Silverado’s art teacher has been working with students for 18 years, teaching them how to express themselves through paints and pencils. He encourages them to explore their personalities through creative means, make decisions about their work, and create things they are proud of.

After completing a painting degree, getting a license to teach was an easy decision for McGreal. His mother was a kindergarten teacher and an early influence who solidified his goal of becoming a teacher as well.

“Teaching was something I always thought about when I was young,” McGreal said. “I wrote it in my eighth grade yearbook when they asked us where we would be in 20 years.”

McGreal feels that art is important to every student. According to him, it’s all “about their life.”

“They get to examine their life, and that’s something everybody wants to do,” he said.

The ability to create freely and express oneself is integral to teenagers, who are rapidly going through changes throughout their high school years.

“The people that benefit the most are the community,” McGreal said.

He said he feels that giving his students the freedom to make decisions about their art prepares them for the future. While they may not be making life-changing choices when picking a subject to paint, they are learning how to have a voice at a time “where they might be questioning a number of different things.” This gives students responsibility and tells them that they are unique individuals capable of creating work they are proud of.