Distinguished Teaching of Art Award
The Distinguished Teaching of Art Award, established in 1972, is presented to an individual who has been actively engaged in teaching art for most of his or her career. This award is presented to an artist of distinction who has developed a philosophy or technique of instruction based on his or her experience as an artist; has encouraged his or her students to develop their own individual abilities; and/or has made some contribution to the body of knowledge loosely called theory and understood as embracing technical, material, aesthetic, and perceptual issues.
Reni Gower is a professor of art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where she has taught since 1981. Her dedicated instruction in painting includes complex material processes and innovative approaches and safe practices with encaustic that are widely disseminated through her instructional website and videos. Gower has also been a sought-after leader and national authority in professional practices; her Senior Seminar course has been widely modeled at other institutions. In addition, Gower has maintained a rich art career and developed an extensive body of work with an exemplary exhibition record of sustained quality. Her students and colleagues speak highly and enthusiastically of her influence in the classroom, where she challenges her students to push beyond familiar solutions and be open to experimenting with new technologies and formats.
The first five winners of the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award—Josef Albers, Tony Smith, Philip Guston, Jack Tworkov, and Grace Hartigan—are all major figures from the American modernist canon. Demonstrating effectively that the teaching and practice of art is often inseparable, each professor has influenced thousands of art students over the years, in mediums ranging from sculpture (Lester Van Winkle), painting (Wayne Thiebaud, Mercedes Matter), and printmaking (Robert Blackburn) to photography (Jerry N. Uelsmann), new media (Margaret Lovejoy), and interdisciplinary practices (Hans Haacke, Vernon Fisher).
Read a list of all winners of the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from 1973 to the present.
CAA will begin accepting nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Teaching of Art Award later this spring.