Art Educator of the Year

Mark Terry with some of his art studentsMark Terry, an assistant professor of art at George Fox University, was named the 2010 Oregon Higher Education Art Educator of the Year by the Oregon Art Education Association. He will be presented the honor at the OAEA’s fall conference in Redmond, Ore., on Sunday, Oct. 11.

Terry is entering his 25th year as a full-time teacher and his 13th year at George Fox. He earned the award both for his work at the university, where the art major, launched just 11 years ago, has grown to more than 100 students – one of the largest majors on campus – and for his efforts to facilitate art education at public schools throughout the region.

Terry also oversees the university’s connection with the Noble Hill Anagama Kiln in Forest Grove, Ore., the focal point of the school’s ceramics program since it was first fired in April of 2004.

“The award took me by complete surprise,” Terry said. “I suspect that our long-standing commitment to mentoring elementary and secondary art teachers, and partnering with their programs, may have played some part in it. We have long sent both teachers and undergrads out into elementary schools to do art programs, and alums from our program have become influential teachers in at least a dozen middle and high schools in the region. We also have active partnership programs with nearby high schools.”

Among other projects, George Fox has hosted the “All-Northwest High School Art Show,” the only juried event of its kind in the Northwest, since the mid-1990s. The university also has a long-standing partnership with C.S. Lewis Academy art students, providing lab and instruction during May Term. And last January, the university hosted an exhibition in its Minthorne Gallery of area elementary and secondary teachers’ work, entitled “Artists Who Teach.”

Student artists join professor Mark Terry in a pottery-firing process
“We are missional about bringing light to the world through art and understand that seeds need to be planted and nurtured long before students reach the university if we are to be successful in preparing young artists for careers in the arts,” he said. 

To this end, Terry supervises annual cooperative firings of the Noble Hill Anagama with students from Lake Oswego high schools. Requiring three years to build, the Noble Hill Anagama is a large hill-climbing, wood-fueled kiln that is modeled on the ancient kilns and firing traditions of Korea and Japan. Firing it is a cooperative and communal event that takes several days.

Academically, Terry said the highlight of his college teaching career came in 2005, when George Fox named him recipient of its Faculty Achievement Award for Undergraduate Teaching.

Prior to his arrival at George Fox, Terry taught art at public high schools in the Salem area for 12 years and also taught at Oregon State and Western Oregon University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Willamette University in 1980, received a master’s degree in education (interdisciplinary studies) from Western Oregon University in 1994, and is due to receive a Master’s of Fine Arts in studio art from Azusa Pacific University in July.

The Oregon Art Education Association is a not-for-profit organization with a volunteer board of art educators from around the state of Oregon. The OAEA’s mission is to advocate for the advancement and expansion of quality visual arts education. Founded in 1973, it is affiliated with the National Art Education Association.