2022 Utah Art Education Association Awards recognize three University of Utah recipients

March 29 2022
Art & Art History professor Beth Krensky awarded Higher Education Educator of the Year Art & Art History professor Beth Krensky awarded Higher Education Educator of the Year

Each year, the Utah Arts Education Association awards deserving educators. Recipients of the 2022 UAEA Awards included three members of our U College of Fine Arts community: Beth Krensky, Katie Seastrand, and Sydney Porter Williams. 

2022 Higher Education Educator of the Year

Dr. Beth Krensky
Professor, Department of Art & Art History

The theologian Frederick Buechner describes one’s calling as “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” For as far back as I can remember, my deep gladness has come from engaging with others to create art and meaning. Some call this teaching. I call it being part of a community of learners who are willing to inhabit the sometimes uncomfortable space of creativity to remake the world anew. And when I am lucky, time stands still for me and I get lost in the magic of this collaborative grappling we call education. For me, it is always about experimentation. In order to fully inhabit this space, we must be willing to fail. For without the freedom to fail, I believe nothing truly great can emerge. I think this is at the root of the most meaningful forms of education, and teaching from this place is an act of bravery. I believe we must teach as if our lives and the world depended on it. Indeed, they do. I have learned so much with and from my students for so many years as we have courageously collaborated to reinvent the world.

2022 Preservice Art Educator of the Year Award 
Sydney Porter Williams
MFA Candidate, Department of Art & Art History
Community-based Art Education

"As a community-based teaching artist, I am inevitably experimenting every day, and have come to embrace the imperfection this brings in my practice. Though I strive for excellence, I have found investigating new methods and materials leads to a more enriching educational experience for all parties. While I enter a classroom with a plan outlined, I am constantly shifting my strategies based on the knowledge and experiences students bring to the table. While I rarely know how a session will develop, I have found that creating this space for experimentation and imperfection allows students to play, leading to a desire to explore and learn more. This desire for learning leads to developed skills, which leads to students believing in their own capabilities. That is my goal: to help students develop agency, a confidence that they can transform the world."

2022 Museum Educator of the Year 
Katie Seastrand 
Manager of School and Teacher Programs, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

“Using art in classrooms not only provides opportunities for students to learn on their own terms but can also help with stress and social-emotional learning. Students need room to be free and creative, to bring what they want to the paper, canvas, clay, or other medium. Art education is an empowering space and outlet for whatever emotions, anxieties, or experiences that may not easily be expressed through words."

Additionally, Georgiana Simpson, alumna of the U's Master of Arts in Teaching – Fine Arts program, was awarded 2022 High School Art Educator of the Year. 

We applaud all of these fantastic educators for their incredible contributions to art teaching in our state!