link Helayna Thickpenny's Faculty Profile

Helayna Thickpenny

helayna thickpenny

Helayna Thickpenny


Phone: (408)855-5287
Email: [email protected]
Office Location: GC-337D
Department: Art/Art History, Humanities

Helayna has taught at Mission College for almost 30 years. She teaches all periods of Art History from ancient though modern art, as well as interdisciplinary Humanities classes that focus on the art, literature, music, philosophy, and religion of particular historical periods from ancient through modern. She also has research interests in ancient Greek and Roman art and Renaissance art.

She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Triton Museum in Santa Clara for 14 years, and is currently a member of the Museum Advisory Board.

As an instructor for Humanities 30 (Travel to Europe), Helayna led student educational tours to Europe in order to visit cultural and historical sites. These trips are open to the Mission/West Valley community of students, family and friends. In the past,  Mission College groups visited Italy, France, Spain, England, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg.  Currently West Valley College instructors are leading student group tours to international destinations, and Mission College students are eligible to participate.


  • M.A., Ohio State University
  • Graduate Work, University of Chicago & American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece
  • B.A., Ohio State University

Courses Taught 

  • Art 004: Art Appreciation
  • Art 001A: Survey of Western Art I (Ancient through Medieval)
  • Art 001B: Survey of Western Art II (Renaissance through Modern)
  • Art 001D: History of Modern Art
  • Humanities 001A: Human Values in and from the Arts I
  • Humanities 001B: Human Values in and from the Arts II
  • Humanities 030: Cultural Studies (Travel to Europe)

Awards, Honors, Publications

  • 2018: Author Theodore Wores and Impressionism in the Triton Museum exhibition catalog for Theodore Wores: Under the California Sun
  • 2012: Presenter, International Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Paris, France
  • 2011: Author of What the Artist Knows, in catalog for exhibition of Sculpture by Kristin Lindseth Rivera
  • 2009: Curator, A Closer Look: Four Bay Area Sculptors, Triton Museum, Santa Clara
  • 2006: Participant, Oxford Round Table on The Two Cultures, Oxford University, England
  • 2001: Voted Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year by Mission College students
  • 1996: Mission College Academic Senate Award for Publishing Excellence
  • 1995: Mission College Academic Senate Award for Teaching Excellence

Fast Facts

Born and raised in New York City. Works on animal rescue/welfare issues. Favorite things to do: go to museums, travel, read, and practice piano.

Favorite Quote

"If a man aspires to a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals." - Albert Einstein