UCA Art Education on the National Stage

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By Trina Harlow, Assistant Professor of Art, Art Education »

UCA Art Education on the National Stage

In January of 2021, I was elected to serve on the National Art Education Association’s National Board of Directors as the Higher Ed Division Director-Elect. I attended my first national board meeting on Sunday, February 28 of 2021 and will serve two years as the director-elect and then two more years as director. I’ve been highly involved in NAEA and my state chapters for many years in many ways. I am really thankful and honored to have the opportunity to serve art education by being involved with strategic planning for the organization as a whole, the four geographic regions, and the various divisions – including museum, supervision and administration, preservice, higher education, and the elementary, middle, and high school divisions. The Board of Directors serves as the governing authority to advance the Association’s mission, determine its goals and priorities, provide strategic direction, and fiduciary oversight.

Additionally, it came as quite a surprise to me to win two 2021 NAEA national awards and one regional award. It was a humbling and amazing honor to be awarded the NAEA Gilbert A. Clark and Enid Zimmerman Leadership Advocacy Award by my NAEA peers. The Clark and Zimmerman Leadership Advocacy Award honors art educators who donate their time, effort, and expertise to advancing art education in all sectors and who are outspoken leaders and advocates for art education in schools, museums, community centers, or other settings where art education is researched and practiced. The award is given to an NAEA member who has held leadership roles in NAEA and been an active advocate for art education programs not only locally, but regionally, nationally, and/or internationally. As the award recipient, I delivered a 45-minute lecture at the 2021 [Virtual] National Art Education Association Convention on March 6th.

Clark & Zimmerman Award LECTURE: During the 2021 [Virtual] NAEA Convention, I presented the 45-minute Clark and Zimmerman Award lecture entitled “Activism, Practivism, and Artivism – Tales of the Traveling Art Teacher.”

Along with my colleague, Bob Reeker from Nebraska, I was also awarded the NAEA Art Education Technology Group’s Outstanding Community Service Award. We were given this award for the Online Art Teaches (K-12) Facebook Group that I founded on March 11th of 2020 to assist art teachers with pandemic teaching. Bob is a national leader in art education and joined the effort as a team leader on March 11th, and for many months has served as the co-director with me. The group now has over 19,300 members from 120 countries and the group’s efforts have been recognized as a driving force in the success of pandemic teaching of art. The group is a service project by art teachers for art teachers in uncertain times and we are doing social media differently. We also now have a website, a Google Folder of resources, have hosted two virtual conferences, produced newsletters, and have provided many advocacy tools for struggling art teachers and programs. The group became quite a phenomenon in art education during pandemic teaching.

AET Community Service Award: The NAEA Western Region, which Arkansas is a member of, shared this image of Dr. Harlow and Bob Reeker, at their national awards ceremony.

Finally, it was an honor to be recognized as the NAEA Western Region Higher Education Educator of the Year and to be nominated by three colleagues from Nebraska, Ohio, and Indiana. For the last six years, I have been the art education coordinator and instructor of art education at Kansas State University. I continue the many scholarly, service, and instructional initiatives that I started while at KSU here at UCA, and that includes continued growth and efforts in NAEA’s targeted areas of strategic vision – advocacy, learning, community, research, professional vibrancy, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Western Region Higher Ed Award: NAEA’s Western Region, of which Arkansas is a member, shared this announcement on social media and at their awards ceremony held on February 27, 2021 as part of the NAEA National Convention.

While I have been building my career in art education for close to three decades, it filled me with great pride to be introduced as being from the University of Central Arkansas and Conway, Arkansas in four virtual award ceremonies, and representing UCA at my first national board meeting. I recently read something that gave me pause. Many decades ago, people imagined varying futures, and someone may have imagined the future that we are currently living, just as we imagine futures that someone else may someday live. During the last one hundred years, caretakers of the outstanding UCA art program built this reputable and viable institution where I am now honored to serve on the faculty. I hope my service at UCA will continue to build the program for those who come after me.

Read more about NAEA at www.arteducators.org.

Zimmerman Award: Due to the pandemic, the virtual NAEA National Awards Celebration was held at 10:00am central time on Saturday, February 27th. Dr. Harlow was presented the Clark & Zimmerman Leadership Advocacy Award, one of nine major 2021 national awards given by NAEA.