by Louise Palermo
Curator of Education

The Washington Art Education Association (WAEA) includes K-12 art teachers from public and private schools, administrators, museum educators, art school and college professors, retired and pre-service educators. Additionally, WAEA is affiliated, at the national level, with the National Art Education Association (NAEA) with over twenty-two thousand members. As a professional Museum Educator, participation with these organizations has been rich with ideas and experiences.

One such experience resulted in an amazing collaboration.

It began as I moved into my new position as Curator of Education at Maryhill Museum of Art five years ago, and Washington Art Education Association Executive Board held an important planning meeting at Maryhill. As I sat next to Ed Crossan, an art teacher from Thomas Jefferson High School in Auburn, Washington, he asked if an exhibition highlighting the professional artists of the WAEA could be discussed. This discussion resulted in Maryhill Museum of Art hosting a juried exhibition giving art educators the spotlight they richly deserve.

Maryhill hosts this exhibition, which will travel to Tacoma Art Museum in 2021, in a beautiful partnership with these three entities. To participate, art educators are invited to submit their wok and artist’s statement through an online form. The submissions are then passed to a juror from out-of-state who selects the works of art to be exhibited and gives awards those that meet criteria for awards.

During the 2020 season, the pandemic caused this exhibition to become completely virtual. This necessary shift had a wonderful payoff giving national access to the Teachers As Artists exhibition for the entire season. Happily, 2021 is both virtual AND on view in person in the museum’s M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Education Center.

The 2021 exhibition is titled, “Connections,” giving focus to the ways we connected to our family, our world, and our emotions during a time when we were forced to separate from those very things.

Our juror, Dylan McManus, was chosen for his unwavering support of the arts in Oregon and Washington States. He is the Dean of Library and Learning Commons at the Columbia Gorge Community College and a nationally recognized printmaker. He is also co-founder of Little Bear Hill where he is artistic director of the post-digital new media artists residency, printing press, and organic farm located in the Columbia Gorge. In 2019, McManus was the Artistic Director for Maryhill Museum of Art’s first Exquisite Gorge Project resulting in a 66-foot-long woodblock print, printed via a 13-ton steam-roller.

As an artist, McManus understands the passion, drive, and connections artists hold for their life’s work. As a juror, he looked for excellent content of imagery, mastery of the medium and process, and compared these to each artist’s statement.

Which brings us back to the beginning… Ed Crossan, an art educator and artist, in collaboration with the WAEA and Maryhill Museum of Art, inspired years of a celebration of art educators and the talent they bring to their classrooms…and our visitors.

Take a moment and look at the exhibition here and then… put on your most artistic mask and come to Maryhill to see these inspirational works of art in person!

Images, from top to bottom:

Regan Boyson
My Three Musicians
Acrylic on canvas
30” x 40”
Twin Falls Middle School
Jeff D’Ambrosio, Principal
North Bend, WA 

Laura Wise
Breaking the Storm

Oil on canvas
36” x 40”
Bonnie Smith, Principal
Toppenish High School
Toppenish, WA 

Cynthia Noyd
Memories Reimagined

Sumi ink, acrylic on rice paper
48” x 48”
Eric DeVries, Principal
The River Academy
Wenatchee, WA

Linda St. Clair
Heroes (Claudia and Agnes)
Charcoal on paper
11” x 15”
Jeff Naslund, Principal
Mead High School
Spokane, WA 

Lisa Crubaugh
2021 COVID Candle Goddess
12” x 6” x 5.5”
David Staight, Principal
Bennett Elementary
Bellevue, WA 

Ed Crossan
BLM PPE-Black Lives Matter Shield

Plywood, glue, paint, iron, brass
30” diameter
Adrienne Chacon, Principal
Thomas Jefferson High School
Auburn, WA