About the Instructor

After my college graduation, my father suggested I should consider teaching. I responded that it was too big of a responsibility and doubted that I teach others when I struggled to discover my own “palette.”

In the following 16 years, I worked as designer, art director, illustrator, muralist, freelance artist and fine artist. Although I became accomplished in these roles, I never lost sight of my father’s suggestion.

In 1999 I had a career-changing experience – a generous patron funded construction of a studio on my property. Her sincere regard for my artwork as well as her faith in my creative development was unconditional and reassuring. The studio has continuously allowed me to reflect and create works of art of great size and complexity.

In time and with more confidence, I did follow my father’s advice, adding teaching to my resume. My desire to direct students to the top art collegiate programs and careers brought me to the Excel TECC consortium.

Now, as a dedicated artist and teacher, I instruct students at their current level and mentor them into the artists I know they can become. I recognize that success comes from being a lifelong learner and student of your craft, an approach that I inspire in my students each day in the SAD studio.

Daniel James Whitely signature
Dan Whitely
Studio Art & Design


SAD introduces multiple careers in the visual arts with the ARTatWORK program, adding value to classroom curriculum with social media, guest speakers, trips, resources, and professional networking events that connect students with college recruiters, SAD alumni, art professionals, and business leaders.

ARTatWORK prepares students with a competitive advantage to further their education as well as to launch their career success.

Our history

In 1966, Orange High School launched the new Commercial Art program, and in 1970 affiliated with the Excel TECC consortium. Bob Tackach was the program’s first instructor and continued that role until 1986. His known sales pitch was “…once you take this program, you’ll be able to get a job in the art field.”

Maureen Covatta, one of Bob’s most talented students, began her tenure with the program in 1986, changing the program’s name to Visual Art & Design. She encouraged many students to pursue higher education as well as commercial work, and her student’s commercial projects were exhibited in competitions throughout her tenure.

In 2014, Dan Whitely came from Shaker Heights High School to lead the program. His Department Chair experience and program-planning skills enhanced the program with new academic standards, merit-based college portfolio requirements, and career awareness for the visual arts. The program name evolved to Studio Art & Design to reflect these changes.