Above and Beyond

“Even Cows Deserve a Vacation, Bovine Beach” — Thomas Thiery

A fanciful watercolor painting titled, “Even Cows Deserve a Vacation, Bovine Beach” won the Best in Show Award at the 56th Annual MEA MAEA Art Acquisitions Purchase Exhibition. The piece was one of two accepted into the show from MEA-Retired member Thomas Thiery, a retired art teacher from Adrian. The painting features a dreamy depiction of several black-and-white Holstein cows resting on their sides in the foreground with the carnival rides of the Santa Monica Pier in the background. The scene is centered by the pier’s famous Ferris wheel in the distance, and framed by the sun reflecting off the Pacific Ocean to the left and pastel blue beach umbrellas and chairs next to the cows on the right. “It made an impact,” said juror Daniel Driggs, an Indiana artist who specializes in oil and acrylic paintings. “It brings back memories of carnivals, or if you’ve been in the country and seen cows along the fence, everyone can relate to it. With its use of color and design, it was a beautiful piece.” Thiery taught video production and painting in Adrian for 38 years before retiring in 2005. He has entered the exhibition for 15 years and won Best in Show once before. A prolific painter in his retirement, the 80-year-old quipped, “I’ve got so many ideas that I want to get done before I die,
I feel like I can’t waste any time.”

MEA Voice Feature Teachers


Choir Teacher Surprised by Students on The View

MEA member Rachel Niewiada already knew her Grandville Middle School choral music students were wonderful singers, but after she appeared last week on the ABC television program The View the seven-year teacher now knows they’re incredible actors as well. Niewiada says she had no idea several of her students would appear in taped interviews to […]

Member Spotlight: Kat Sibalwa

Last March Kat Sibalwa, Byron Center High School teacher and BCEA co-president, was set to talk about MEA with soon‑to‑graduate aspiring educators at Grand Valley State University. Then the pandemic hit, and suddenly she was teaching from home with two small children and a husband working in health care. Had you presented to aspiring educators before? […]