News

Arlene Braithwaite Named 2009 Higher Ed Art Educator of the Year

March 13, 2009
Category: Academics


Southern Utah University is proud to announce one of its own, Associate Professor of Art Arlene Braithwaite, has been named by the Utah Art Education Association (UAEA) as the state’s Higher Education Art Educator of the Year for 2009. 

A 30-year professor within SUU’s art and design department, Braithwaite, who teaches drawing and art education courses, is being recognized for her outstanding service in art education at the university level. 

This is Braithwaite’s third time to receive such recognition; in 2002 the UAEA named her the overall Art Educator of the Year and in 1998 Arlene received her first Art Educator of the Year in Higher Education Award. 

And while Professor Braithwaite says she is “deeply honored” to receive statewide recognition for her work at SUU, and admits she was very surprised to be nominated for this award, Arlene’s peers are not at all surprised her name has once again surfaced in the consideration of best art educators in the state. 

According to Bill Byrnes, dean of SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts, “Arlene is someone who makes a difference every day in the classroom. She is a remarkable teacher and an inspiration to our students.” 

Arlene works diligently to advance art education by helping her students develop as artists, professionals and leaders. As an affiliate to the National Art Education Association, the leading professional organization for art educators, it would seem the UAEA could not have selected a better educator to represent Utah’s community of art educators. 

In drawing classes, Arlene strives to teach students observation skills, drawing fundamentals and principles of composition. In art education classes, she prepares future art teachers through study and application of successful teaching strategies and art curriculum development. When reflecting upon her own objectives in the classroom, Braithwaite explains, “More than anything, I try to teach my students how to see objectively. Once they can do that, they can take what they see, manipulate it and be expressive. But first, I want them to think critically about what they see – in their own work and in the work of others.” 

Such objectivity and creativity is also apparent in Braithwaite’s own work, where a majority of her efforts focuses on the landscape and figure. She works primarily with pastel because of the immediacy and flexibility of the medium, and has received several awards, including first place at the Dixie Invitational Exhibition at Dixie College and first place at the Cedar City Annual Art Exhibit. 

As for this most recent UAEA award, Braithwaite calls it “a truly rewarding experience to have this kind of acknowledgement from my peers.” 

In the past, Arlene has served as chair of the art department and also worked for three years as associate dean of the College of Arts, Letter and Humanities. Before joining SUU’s faculty in 1978, Braithwaite taught middle school art classes, and has also done extensive illustration and photography work for a variety of media publications. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Utah, with a Master’s of Education and a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

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