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TC's Judith Burton to Receive Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award in Art Education

Judith Burton, Professor and program director of Art & Art Education and Director of TC’s Macy Art Gallery, will receive the Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Art Educators Association (NAEA). Named for the late Elliot Eisner, an art and education professor and curriculum specialist at Stanford University, the award recognizes an individual whose professional achievements have advanced the cause of art education. Burton will be honored on March 27 at the NAEA national convention in New Orleans, where she will present a keynote lecture titled “Looking Back and Moving Forward: Thinking Out Loud.”  

“I see Dr. Burton as an intellectual leader and scholar whose participation in each and every dialogue has enriched the discourse,” Karen Lee Carroll, Dean of the Center for Art Education at the Maryland Institute College of Art wrote in nominating Burton for the award. “She has held a steady focus on the learner while making contributions to discussions of visual culture, holistic approaches to learning, and the value of engagement with materials a source of ideas.”

Caroll said Burton has kept TC’s Art & Art Education program, which was first chaired by Arthur Wesley Dow and numbers Georgia O’Keeffe, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, William Daley and Charles Alston among its alumni, “at the forefront of national and international developments in art education.” Most recently, Burton has spearheaded the opening of TC’s Myers New Media Studio and the opening of a “FabLab” with an array of new digital technologies. The Art & Art Education program has also launched a Creative Technologies Concentration exploring the intersection between emerging technologies and art teaching and learning.

These bold moves have reflected Burton’s “clarity of vision about the purposes of our Art Education work,” wrote Jo-Anna Moore, Area Coordinator of Art Education of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, a perspective that has “cut through the fads and fancies of our field over the decades.” 

But Burton’s impact has extended well beyond West 120th Street. Early in her career, through a series of articles titled “Developing Minds,” she helped shift her field to a learner-centered rather than discipline-based approach in art education.

“She called attention to a dialogic method for teaching art informed by a real depth of understanding about how children engage with materials and image-making,” wrote Carroll. 

In 1996, with generous funding from TC Trustee Joyce Cowin, Burton founded the Heritage School in East Harlem, a comprehensive high school that was one of the first in the country to incorporate the arts as part of its core curriculum. Heritage has become “a thriving model of arts-centered public school education,” wrote Burton’s former student, Mary Hafeli, Professor of Art & Art Education and former Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Burton also has served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, helping to develop a master’s degree program using TC’s art education program as a model. She also advised on the development of the education department of the National Art Museum of China and has consulted on art programs in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Portugal. Her research has been presented around the world.

The restoration of the Macy Art Gallery arguably stands as the crowning achievement of Burton’s career. Supported by the Myers Foundation and endowed by the late Eugene Myers, a TC alumnus who served as Dean of the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., Burton physically restored and brought new life to the 1,300-square-foot space, which opened just before World War I, when O’Keeffe and her sister were students. The Gallery now mounts 17 exhibits per year, ranging from the work of children to that of TC students to exhibitions by major artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude.  Macy is also home to the Conversations Across Culture” series started by Burton, three-day gatherings that highlight established and newly emerging cultures by exploring new possibilities for teaching and learning through media produced by young people.  

“The Gallery has always been a symbol of what’s unique about art and art education at TC,” Burton said a few years ago. “I came to TC because I saw that, more than any other program in the nation, there was a balance of studio practice and art education theory. We ask, ‘How can theory and practice each richly and deeply inform the other for the benefit of our students and the learning they inspire in others?’”


Published Monday, Mar. 23, 2015

TC's Judith Burton to Receive Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award in Art Education

Judith Burton, Professor and program director of Art & Art Education and Director of TC’s Macy Art Gallery, will receive the Eisner Lifetime Achievement Award of the National Art Educators Association (NAEA). Named for the late Elliot Eisner, an art and education professor and curriculum specialist at Stanford University, the award recognizes an individual whose professional achievements have advanced the cause of art education. Burton will be honored on March 27 at the NAEA national convention in New Orleans, where she will present a keynote lecture titled “Looking Back and Moving Forward: Thinking Out Loud.”  

“I see Dr. Burton as an intellectual leader and scholar whose participation in each and every dialogue has enriched the discourse,” Karen Lee Carroll, Dean of the Center for Art Education at the Maryland Institute College of Art wrote in nominating Burton for the award. “She has held a steady focus on the learner while making contributions to discussions of visual culture, holistic approaches to learning, and the value of engagement with materials a source of ideas.”

Caroll said Burton has kept TC’s Art & Art Education program, which was first chaired by Arthur Wesley Dow and numbers Georgia O’Keeffe, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, William Daley and Charles Alston among its alumni, “at the forefront of national and international developments in art education.” Most recently, Burton has spearheaded the opening of TC’s Myers New Media Studio and the opening of a “FabLab” with an array of new digital technologies. The Art & Art Education program has also launched a Creative Technologies Concentration exploring the intersection between emerging technologies and art teaching and learning.

These bold moves have reflected Burton’s “clarity of vision about the purposes of our Art Education work,” wrote Jo-Anna Moore, Area Coordinator of Art Education of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, a perspective that has “cut through the fads and fancies of our field over the decades.” 

But Burton’s impact has extended well beyond West 120th Street. Early in her career, through a series of articles titled “Developing Minds,” she helped shift her field to a learner-centered rather than discipline-based approach in art education.

“She called attention to a dialogic method for teaching art informed by a real depth of understanding about how children engage with materials and image-making,” wrote Carroll. 

In 1996, with generous funding from TC Trustee Joyce Cowin, Burton founded the Heritage School in East Harlem, a comprehensive high school that was one of the first in the country to incorporate the arts as part of its core curriculum. Heritage has become “a thriving model of arts-centered public school education,” wrote Burton’s former student, Mary Hafeli, Professor of Art & Art Education and former Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Burton also has served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, helping to develop a master’s degree program using TC’s art education program as a model. She also advised on the development of the education department of the National Art Museum of China and has consulted on art programs in Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Portugal. Her research has been presented around the world.

The restoration of the Macy Art Gallery arguably stands as the crowning achievement of Burton’s career. Supported by the Myers Foundation and endowed by the late Eugene Myers, a TC alumnus who served as Dean of the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., Burton physically restored and brought new life to the 1,300-square-foot space, which opened just before World War I, when O’Keeffe and her sister were students. The Gallery now mounts 17 exhibits per year, ranging from the work of children to that of TC students to exhibitions by major artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude.  Macy is also home to the Conversations Across Culture” series started by Burton, three-day gatherings that highlight established and newly emerging cultures by exploring new possibilities for teaching and learning through media produced by young people.  

“The Gallery has always been a symbol of what’s unique about art and art education at TC,” Burton said a few years ago. “I came to TC because I saw that, more than any other program in the nation, there was a balance of studio practice and art education theory. We ask, ‘How can theory and practice each richly and deeply inform the other for the benefit of our students and the learning they inspire in others?’”


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