University News

Education Professor earns Utah Arts Top Honors

Published: May 15, 2015 | Author: Tommy Gugino | Category: Academics

What does a lifetime of an artist’s work look like? For most, it fills galleries, but Carrie Trenholm’s work has filled the hearts and minds of more than three generations of Utah’s students.

Viewing her own artwork as a side business to her true life’s passion—building new artists—the Sorenson Legacy Foundation’s 2015 Arts Education Lifetime Achievement Award recipient has spent her career fighting for the arts in public education by showcasing again and again and again just how powerful the arts in the classroom can be.

Proof of her success came when Trenholm received the Governor’s Leadership in Education Leadership Award, granted on an annual basis to those Utahans who have led the state’s advancement of the arts for Utah’s students, teachers and communities. The Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award is the highest honor in the arts.

Beyond simply advancing art for art’s sake, Trenholm has reframed the conversation, using the arts as an instructional tool by integrating the arts into science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.

The Leadership in the Arts and Lifetime Achievement Awards were granted, in part, as recognition of Carrie’s innovative Arts Fusion programs that focus on the fusion of arts and the sciences in schools. Trenholm’s Arts Fusion programs are taught in workshops for educators across the state.

As Southern Utah University’s elementary arts education endowed chair and as assistant professor of elementary arts education, Trenholm has impacted nearly every elementary student and teacher in southern Utah.

“[Trenholm] is an enthusiastic art educator,” according to longtime colleague in SUU’s Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education & Human Development. “But her heart shines brightest as an advocate for students.”

Indeed, in every workshop, lecture and summer camp, Trenholm passes along an infectious enthusiasm—hope that despite the red tape surrounding legislative budgeting and education’s constraints under standardized testing, everything will be all right and kids will still paint and sing and dance in our public schools. What’s more, because they paint and sing and dance, they will excel in the reading and writing and arithmetic that drives education reform.

For the past 17 years, Trenholm has worked with the Sorenson Legacy Foundation to create and sustain the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program. Under the direction of the Utah Arts Council and the Utah State Office of Education, the program uses innovative teacher training from the state’s leading universities to provide quality arts learning in Utah’s elementary schools. Trenholm has run continuing education for educators across southern Utah and administrated southern Utah’s in-school arts specialists.

In just one year, Trenholm’s work helps more than 300 schoolteachers and principals through workshops, conferences and in-service training; she teaches thousands of schoolchildren in cross-disciplinary arts activities of Trenholm’s own design; and she leads nearly 200 SUU elementary education students in their own design and implementation of similar activities in their own student teaching and professional preparations.

Carrie Trenholm’s work has set a lasting precedent for the role of the state’s universities in the advancement of arts education. 


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