Shady: ‘teaching keeps me young’

by Student Writer Yu Fu

Ronald Shady has been teaching in Department of Art at UNA for almost 34 years. He currently teaches all levels of ceramics and sculpture and a three-dimensional design class.

After finishing his bachelor of fine arts at Auburn University, he moved to Illinois to pursue his master’s.

“The hardest thing for me about studying art is analyzing an artist’s intent and the symbolism in their art,” Shady said.

Shady spent several years moving around to a few states during college years and several different states while he was in the U.S. Navy, along with visiting the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. He spent three out of four years at sea.

“I learned to appreciate cultural differences in different states, and learned to respect and more fully appreciate the United States by comparing it to other countries,” he said.

Shady went to graduate school to study ceramics after he realized that being a technical illustrator was not his dream job.

“It drove me crazy to stand or sit at a drawing board for eight hours a day,” he said.

Shady did not plan to be a college professor. However, he soon enjoyed being a professor after he got an opportunity to teach for a year at Auburn University.

“I enjoyed teaching and interacting with the students, they keep me young,” Shady said. “The look on a student’s face and in their eyes when they make a learning breakthrough, that keeps me motivated.”


Shady has exhibited ceramics both regionally and nationally. He once exhibited a drawing in Sweden and had ceramic work shown in a U.S. ceramic design book.

“My creative ideas come from personal interests, current events, relationships, childhood experiences and experiences from yesterday,” he said.

Shady and his wife Anne participate in Frontier Days at Pope’s Tavern in Florence every June.

Shady said he and his wife are strong supporters of Safe Place and Hospice Shoals, Christians United for Israel, the Jerusalem Prayer Team, International fellowship of Christians and Jews and the American Center for Law and Justice.

Shady has a fascination with glass and plans to build a studio and start a glass bead and fused glass business.

Shady said his main goal is to “spend more time with my close friends, and go where I am led.”