Karen Cummings, coordinator of art education at UMSL, was named the Higher Education Art Educator of the Year by the Missouri Art Education Association.

Karen Cummings, coordinator of art education at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, teaches rigorous, but popular courses. She oversees 22 interns in the field. And she makes herself available to graduate art teachers seeking advice. Cummings is a teacher, mentor, adviser and now the Higher Education Art Educator of the Year.

The Missouri Art Education Association awards the honor to an art educator in higher education for outstanding service, significant achievement and exemplary contributions and service.

“It is an honor to be recognized for my contributions to art education, and I am proud to be listed among the names of prior recipients of the award,” Cummings said. “It is exciting knowing the MAEA membership thinks highly of the activities and programs I have developed for preservice and beginning art educators.”

Cummings holds a joint appointment at UMSL in the Department of Art and Art History and Division of Teaching and Learning. Since joining the faculty in 2006, she forged collaborative relationships with the Schmidt Art Center at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville and the Belleville School District. Cummings has served as an adviser to the Schmidt Art Center, and her interns assist with the development of exhibit-associated learning opportunities at the gallery for K-12 students at nearby schools.

E. Louis Lankford, chair of the Department of Art and Art History at UMSL, said Cummings has “astonished and impressed me with her energy, initiative, innovative curriculum development, outstanding teaching abilities and, most importantly, her heartfelt dedication to students and early career teachers.” She also builds relationships with her students that last beyond their years at UMSL, he added.

“Graduates know that during their first years of teaching, Karen’s help is only a phone call away,” Lankford said. “She has even observed new art teachers with their classes in order to provide truly contest-specific guidance.”

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

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