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Fine Arts

Where Excellence Meets Opportunity!

The Fine Arts Department at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School offers students an opportunity to experience the Arts in a positive and nurturing environment. While providing the knowledge of basic skills, the essence of self-confidence and the value of historical content, each student is encouraged to share their talents with their school and community. It is through exposure to the Arts, that students will protect their heritage and relationship with past, present and future cultures and to insure the growth of well-rounded individuals within our society. 

Meet the Faculty 

Candis Alston-Taylor (B.A., Virginia State University) joined the Mercy faculty in 2016 and has over 16 years of dance training in jazz, tap, ballet and modern along with 10 years of dance competition experience. While living in Atlanta, Candis has performed with the African American Dance Review, judged for the Georgia High School State Dance Championship, Revolution Dance Competition, choreographed for an episode of Drop Dead Diva, choreographed three musicals for the Georgia Singers Musical Theater group, and has provided guest choreography for events and studios all throughout the Southeast. She is also a member of the National Dance Education Organization and a 2015 recipient of the Sara Keene Memorial Scholarship. Candis has been able to accomplish this all while simultaneously instructing dance for several studios, as well as becoming the Assistant Director for one of those studios and becoming the Co-Artistic Director of a dance company in Richmond, Virginia.

Jennifer Cawley (B.F.A. Atlanta College of Art, M.F.A. Savannah College of Art and Design) is beginning her 9th year of teaching Visual Arts at OLM. She serves as Fine Arts Department Chair, NAHS sponsor, Director of the FLAME Team, and member of the Campus Ministry Team. Mrs. Cawley will continue to coordinate the Alliance for Fine Arts (AFA) parent volunteer group, as well as design and build sets for our drama department. Mrs. Cawley will be teaching art at Our Lady of Victory to grades K-8 two afternoons per week for the 2017-2018 school year.

John Christian (John Christian (B.M., University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, M.A. Central Michigan University) will join the 2018-19 faculty as the new Director of Music. Before joining OLM, he served as a PK-12 Fine Arts Chair at Almaty International School in Almaty, Kazakhstan and at schools in the United States and Morocco. He has taught music, drama, technology, international relations and global politics. He has also held higher education posts at Southern Catholic College, Barry University, Alma College. Kazakh National Conservatory and the State University of New York at Buffalo. Mr. Christian has conducted honors ensembles, clinics and lectured at higher education institutions in ten states, Europe, Asia and Africa. He served three terms as a National Instrumental Music Teacher Mentor for NAfME and was nominated to the Advisory Board for the Music Educators Journal. His ensembles have collaborated with American Composer’s Forum, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, US Army Band, and over 50 ensembles, composers and conductors. They have also received invitations to Vienna, Beijing, Washington D.C., New York, and Hong Kong. Outside the classroom, he enjoys performing, watching baseball and football, cinema, culinary escapes, traveling, and spending time with his wife Emily Elizabeth and their two kids, Penelope, 9 and Bennett, 7. Mr. Christian and his family are members of St. Jude Catholic Parish in Sandy Springs.

Sophia Zinkann (B.S., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) joined the faculty in 2015 and will be teaching English 9, American Literature, and Drama. She also will serve as the Theater director for the 2017-2018 school year. While attending UTC she was an active member of UTC's drama company and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. She was also a member of the adult SEARCH team helping to coordinate the SEARCH retreats for high school students in the Chattanooga area. Sophia is an enthusiastic Chattanooga FC and UTC Mocs fan. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, cooking, dancing, and exploring all the sights that Atlanta has to offer.