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A Brearley Girl Returns

Elizabeth Stainton 77

Liz Stainton served as the Head of the Brearley Art Department for 15 years (2000-2015). Her passion for art, which was instilled in her early on by her own teachers at the School, was passed on to multiple generations of Brearley girls. In fact, some of her students went into the arts in some way themselves. Others incorporated the strong lessons she imparted into other professions. 

During her own time at the School, Liz knew by Class IX that she needed to create. She would wander through the Met, transfixed by the paintings, especially the medieval and baroque works. Beatrice Thompson, the legendary Art Department Head of the time, encouraged and inspired Liz. “Beatrice taught that art was a deeply intellectual passion and not just something you do with your hands.” Beginning the tradition of Brearley girls designing and building sets for theatrical productions at the School, Mrs. Thompson’s stewardship motivated Liz to study set design in college. After graduation, Liz went to work as a freelance artist, painting private commissions, faux finishes and installations. Eventually, she returned to Brearley as an art teacher in 1998. 

Liz does not believe you can be a great art teacher if you are not engaged yourself. The creative process is a challenging one, filled with the need to push oneself toward the unknown and mysterious. The path to successful art making is “a process of intensive looking, learning and exploring the world around us and inside ourselves.” It is a beautiful struggle, and one she loved sharing with her students.

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