Master Teacher Award

VisArts has recognized one member of its faculty with the Master Teacher Award since 2001. This award was renamed as the Shelly Shepherd Master Teacher Award in 2011 to honor the memory of long-time watercolor instructor, Shelly Shepherd. Shepherd was extremely dedicated to her students and was an excellent teacher. She was a fixture at VisArts for many years, always accompanied by her dog Buster and known for her sense of humor.

The Shelly Shepherd Master Teacher Award goes to an instructor each year who exemplifies the organization’s mission through their excellence, creativity and dedication to their students. To be considered for this award, the teacher must also meet the following criteria:

  • Over 7 years in the teaching profession, including a minimum of four seasons of teaching at VisArts
  • Demonstrated achievement or recognition in their respective art field
  • Teaching style and attitude that reflect the values and mission of VisArts
  • A willingness and ability to meet students’ individual and varied needs
  • Must have not won the Master Teacher Award in a previous year

Students, staff, faculty, board members and any member of the public are invited to nominate an instructor for the award. Nominations are accepted in the winter of each year and award recipients are honored at Collectors’ Night as well as the opening of VisArts’ annual [Work] exhibition in the True F. Luck gallery.

Recipients of the Shelly Shepherd Master Teacher Award

  • Doug Jones
  • David Camden
  • Liana Elguero
  • Mary McNeil
  • Tommy Van Auken
  • Jeff Vick
  • Leslie Shiel
  • Tesni Stephen
  • Lisa Fisher Johnson
  • Jay Sharpe
  • Jim Valentine
  • David Tanner
  • Susan Quinnild
  • Kirk O’Brien
  • Shelly Bechtel Shepherd
  • Richard McCord

Please note that a teacher can only receive this award once. The nomination period for the 2021 Shelly Shepherd Master Teacher Award will open in December of 2021.