National Art Education Society honors Dr. Busbea with Pre-Service Achievement Award/Gracie Lee

Dr. Stephanie Busbea, who has taught for more than a decade, received the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Pre-Service Chapter Sponsor Achievement Award. The award is reserved for those who are active sponsors of the Pre-Service Chapter and who are dedicated to promoting future professionals in the society. Another Mississippi art teacher who recognized the time and effort Busbea put into her students nominated her during the fall semester. She received the award at the National Art Convention in New York on March 4 at the Higher Education Awards ceremony, alongside several of her art education students. In addition to this, the NAEA presented her with the Mary Quinn Dix Leadership Award at the Mississippi Art Education Association Awards Ceremony on November 12, 2021.

Busbea’s passion for art started early. As a child, she had a natural ability to draw realistic pieces, and her family enrolled her in art classes from an early age. Through this creative outlet, she met many mentors. “One of my favorite mentors, Charlott Jones, was a teacher I taught art to in elementary school, and she was my advisor in college,” she said. In 1987, the two traveled to NAEA conventions together. “When I became coordinator of arts education at Mississippi College, I started taking my students to conventions. It really makes a difference in the lives of students and that’s why I keep doing it.

Busbea earned her undergraduate degree in arts education at Arkansas State University and later earned her master’s degree at the University of Georgia and her doctorate at the University of Texas. In 1990, she began her profession as an elementary school teacher in Arkansas. It wasn’t long before she became a middle school and high school teacher. “I always knew that I wanted to train art teachers. Watching them go from freshmen to trainee teachers to new teachers to mentoring teachers – I love seeing them do that. It is my joy,” she said. “These are my daughters. They are like family to me.

Busbea’s art students are inspired daily by her passion for teaching. “She’s able to teach us so much because she’s experienced in so many art forms. She made me a better artist and I hope to teach like her one day,” said Dani Henderson, an arts education major.

Corrie Lee, a young arts education student who accompanied Busbea and Henderson to the New York Convention, is grateful to have the opportunity to learn with Busbea. “She taught me a lot about what a good teacher looks like. I really learned a lot from her academically and relationally, in the way she interacts with her students and exemplifies what a teacher should be,” she said.

In addition to teaching others how to create beautiful art, the MC art teacher enjoys getting involved in her own projects. One of her current projects is an art series based on the works of textile artist Anni Albers. Albers, a 20and Student of the century from the Bauhaus art school in Germany, was not allowed to work in the carpentry or glass workshop because she was a woman. As a result, she worked primarily through textiles and fibers. Busbea has extended its own interpretation to include wood, glass and metal.

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