School of Art + Art History Associate Professor Dr. Michelle Tillander was recently awarded the Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award by the Florida Art Education Association (FAEA). Tillander was nominated By Dr. Jeff Broom, associate professor of art education at Florida State University, with support from the FAEA Higher Education Division members. She enjoyed attending the FAEA conference in Naples, Florida, earlier this month and was able to spend time with other artist educators and several UF art education alumni.
“It was an honor to be recognized within the FAEA membership as having achieved the highest level of professionalism in art education,” says Tillander. “I believe in being a steward for art and art education and try to make a positive impact on the discipline and its practice at many levels.”
She is currently working on a four-year research project with the Pinellas County School during the summers entitled, Elevate A.R.T.S., which is a Department of Education (DOE) professional development grant supporting arts teachers in high poverty schools. She will be involved every summer through 2019.
“The project involves an amazing group of artist educators, some who earned their art education degree from UF,” she says.
While research is a large part of her professional career, she also engages with the arts through the community. This past week, she juried the art exhibition for the Gainesville Fine Arts Association and later this semester she will aid UF art education in running The Imagination Station at Gainesville’s Downtown Festival & Art Show.
“Connecting to our local community is important for our program, so I am often involved with the local art community and our art educators in local events,” says Tillander.