Arts & Culture

UK Art Education Professor Elected President of NAEA


LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 30, 2014)  George Szekely, professor of art education at the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies, was recently appointed president of the National Art Education Association (NAEA). Szekely was elected president by members of the NAEA and will serve a total of six years on the board.

The NAEA is a professional membership organization exclusively for visual arts educators. The organization is made up of educators at every level as well as researchers, teaching artists, administrators and more than 45,000 students. The organization represents members in all 50 states as well as most Canadian provinces and 25 foreign countries.

Founded in 1947, the NAEA's intention is to provide networking opportunities for members, to develop resources for art education and to aid in building a professional community for artists. The NAEA also offers several scholarships, grants and awards to its members.

This is not Szekely's first time being recognized by the NAEA. In the past, he has been elected as a Distinguished Fellow and named a National Treasure by the student chapters of NAEA. After having served as vice president of the NAEA, Szekely is looking forward to the challenge of presidency.

"I will serve a six-year term for the National Art Education Association and travel throughout the United States visiting classrooms and museums, universities and public schools," Szekely said. "The NAEA is located in Washington D.C., and I hope to visit members of Congress and the administration and be a spokesperson for art education in museums and schools. During my tenure I will also be leading several international delegations to our members all over the world."

Szekely is known for his expertise in the area of children's art. He was one of the first art educators to highlight the importance of children's play in art making and to support the study of children's home art. Szekely has also published more than 150 articles in major journals of education and has written 11 books. His 12th book, "Play and Creativity in Art Teaching," published by Routledge, comes out this month. Szekely believes art education in schools is a crucial part to the development of children's creativity.

"Art classes can make a major contribution to school and society by becoming every school's center for innovation," Szekely said. "Today's art classes can educate students to be participants and leaders in a visual world by participating in a comprehensive program of visual studies that takes place in every art room. I hope to move art education in the schools to be a class for creative thinkers and critical makers, innovative builders and designers."

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies in the UK College of Fine Arts is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.

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