MAT-FA alum Georgiana Simpson featured by Utah Business

March 01 2024

Excerpted from original story by Judd Bagley for Utah Business

How Whitehorse High School visual arts educator Georgiana Simpson is bridging the equity gap in arts education

Most friendships are the result of happy accidents. The bond that connects Georgiana Simpson and Anna Davis, on the other hand, was premeditated. The bond was forged in an Indianola, Utah, cabin during the annual retreat for Utah Art Educators Association (UAEA) board members, Davis recalls.

“I’d briefly met Georgiana once before and immediately knew she was someone I needed to get to know better. I also knew there were more people than rooms in that cabin, so some of us would need to find roommates. I walked right up and told her she was going to be mine,” Davis remembers, laughing. “We started talking and couldn’t stop.”

The pair had much to share because their stories were so vastly different. Their births are separated by more than two decades. Simpson has long hair she’s allowed to go gracefully gray, while Davis has short hair dyed fiery red. For Davis, the route to a career in arts education was as deliberate and directed as a career path can be, while Simpson practically stumbled into hers at an age when most begin thinking about retirement.

As significant as those differences are, their professional experiences contrast even more.

Davis teaches art at Orem’s Timpanogos High School, in the middle of Utah’s largest school district with a student body that is, according to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report, almost 70 percent white and less than one percent Native American. Nineteen percent of students there qualify for free lunch.

Simpson teaches art at Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, a town of about 300. Whitehorse sits within the borders of the Navajo Nation in one of Utah’s smallest school districts, with a student population that is 98 percent Native American and less than one percent white. Nearly 100 percent of students there qualify for free lunch, and only 30 percent have home internet access, according to Whitehorse Principal Kim Schaefer

Read the profile on