In the Loop
General News : Jul 7, 2016

Taking the lead for arts education

By Natalie Calvo

Out of nine individuals and businesses honored June 24-25 at the Florida Alliance for Art Education (FAAE) Leadership Summit, four were art advocates with ties to Gainesville and the University of Florida recognized for their leadership in art education.

Gary Langford creates art and molds future artists, Cici Brown volunteers her time to the appreciation and showcasing of the arts, Keith Perry advocates for legislative change to ensure the arts are present in education and Rob Hyatt provides leadership at the school board level to support access to quality arts education for Alachua County school students. All four individuals received leadership awards at the summit, which was hosted at the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art and the Shores Resort in Daytona Beach.

The goal of the FAAE is for every child in every school to have a well-rounded education that includes art instruction and for Florida communities to have broad-based cultural programs available to support lifelong learning in and through the arts. The FAAE Leadership Summit Focused on the them of “Arts for All.”

Cici Brown was recognized for her leadership as a community volunteer. Brown was a founding member of the Cultural Arts Council of Volusia County. She served on the board of the Cultural Arts Council for 12 years. She is also on the Florida Humanities Council Board, a member of the Garden Club of Halifax Country and is a sustaining member of the Junior League. Brown has been on the Stetson University Board of Trustees since 1999 and served a term as Chairwoman.

 Cici Brown is married to J. Hyatt Brown, a UF alumnus. The Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art tells the history of Florida through a collection of oil and watercolor paintings that date back to the the 1800s.

Brown received the Community Volunteer Leadership Award recognizes an individual who supports art education, works with local non-profit art organizations and provides leadership in a schools and communities for arts education.

State Representative Keith Perry was recognized for his contributions to the arts as an elected official. Perry is a vice chairman of the House Education Committee. Perry supports adding the arts to STEM and making STEAM a priority in Florida Education. Perry’s daughter is currently a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UF.

Perry urged FAAE Leadership Summit attendees to become involved in the political process and speak up for the arts with elected officials.

Perry received the Elected Official Leadership award because he provides leadership in school and community arts education to ensure that the arts are included in curriculum. Most recently, Perry proposed a bill for the development of music education in early childhood courses.

Gary Langford is a professor of music at the University of Florida. He began working at UF in 1971 as Assistant Director of Bands and a professor of trumpet. He has worked with the concert band, jazz band and marching band. He has taught music history and music theory courses. He worked with the Pride of the Sunshine marching band at UF for 25 years before retiring from that position to work in administration and with the jazz program. He was director of the band for 10. Langford was the assistant director of the School of Music until he retired in 2007.

Gary Langford was awarded the Doris Leeper Award for his impact on art education in Florida. Doris Leeper (1929-2000) was an artist and an educator who advocated for art education with students, teachers and parents. Nancy Lowder-Norman, the co-executive director of the Atlantic Center for the Arts, presented the award to Langford. Langford is pictured with former music students, Dr. Monty Musgrove, the curriculum specialist for the performing arts for Volusia County Public Schools, and Dr. Hiram Powell, the dean of the Bethune-Cookman University School of Performing Arts and Education.

Rob Hyatt was recognized for his work with the Alachua County School Board. Hyatt is a graduate of the University of Florida. Following a long and successful career as a Florida music educator, Hyatt was elected to the Alachua County School Board in 2014. During his tenure on the school board, Hyatt has been a tireless champion for arts education in Alachua County as well as the State of Florida. Hyatt uses his career experiences as a music educator to help advocate for the arts, frequently connecting with local and state lawmakers. Hyatt is also frequently and prominently seen at Alachua County Schools arts events.