SUU professor named ‘Utah Art Educator of the Year’

SUU Professor Alisa Petersen, recipient of the 2016 Higher Education Art Educator of the Year award. Undated | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — The Utah Art Education Association has named Southern Utah University’s Alisa Petersen “2016 Higher Education Art Educator of the Year,” an award she was nominated for by her students and K-12 teachers across Utah for her dedication to increasing the presence of art in elementary education.

Dean Shawn Christiansen of SUU’s College of Education and Human Development, said:

Not only is her impact seen in the artwork hanging on our campus, but also on refrigerators in family homes throughout Southern Utah. Thousands of children and teachers see the world differently for being enriched by art.

Petersen is SUU’s Beverley Taylor Sorenson endowed chair of elementary arts education and works with the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. She arranges trainings and workshops in 32 Southern Utah schools for children, teachers and art specialists. She also runs ArtsFusion, a program designed to increase the quantity and quality of arts education experiences for children in Southern Utah.

Additionally, Petersen facilitates the Art, Music and Me Kids Summer Camp, arranges professional artist outreach visits to remote schools and trains teachers how to connect art to other disciplines.

“I am constantly searching for new ways to incorporate art in education,” she said.

Petersen’s influence on art education in the region is profound, Christensen said.

“Through her countless trainings, programs, camps and mentoring,” he said, “she has increased and insured the presence of art in K-12 schools for many years to come.”

Petersen expressed excitement and gratitude for being selected to receive the award.

“My goal is to help teachers and students increase their creative capacity,” she said. “My mother taught me to love art – that love inspires me to work to provide children with more creative opportunities in school.”

The Utah Art Education Association advocates for and increases the quality of visual arts education through professional development, collaboration and leadership opportunities. Petersen will be formally presented with the award Feb. 24 at the UAEA Conference in St George.

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