Jonathan Silverman named Vermont Art Educator of Year

October 5, 2017

Jonathan Silverman, a longtime professor and present chair of the Saint Michael’s College Education Department, has been named the 2018 Vermont Art Educator of the Year – an honor more typically awarded to a K-12 art teacher.

Silverman was recognized as this year’s recipient “for inspiring many Vermont art educators over his years coordinating the Arts in Education program at Saint Michael’s College and his commitment to visual literacy and the expressive power of the arts,” according to the award citation.

The award was announced at the Annual Vermont Art Education Conference on Friday, September 29, at Holy Family Church in Essex Junction. Silverman will be honored at the National Art Education Conference in Seattle in March.

As Coordinator of the Arts in Education program, Silverman’s areas of interest are arts education, aesthetic perspectives on education, interdisciplinary curriculum, creativity and foundation. He has said he strives to help students become “more imaginative, resourceful and critically reflective practitioners,” and his philosophy is that “the arts offer members of society a viable way to become knowledgeable, literate and morally responsible.”

Nominating Silverman, and also presenting his award Friday, was his colleague, Ann Joppe-Mercure, a Saint Michael’s Graduate Education Program alumna and adjunct instructor in the department.

Here are Joppe-Mecure’s words from the presentation: “Jonathan is a potter, a dancer, an actor, an author, a counselor, a teacher, a mentor, an advocate, an associate professor, coordinator of Arts in Education and Chair of the Education department at Saint Michael’s College. Above all Jonathan is a passionate believer in the creative process and the power of the arts to transform — transform education, transform communication, transform cross cultural understanding and transform life itself by activating curiosity, heart and artistic identity … I am in awe of the all the lives Jonathan has enriched through the arts, one of them being mine.”

The award that winners are presented is in the form of a sculpture. Traditionally the winner adds to the sculpture and then passes it on to the next year’s recipient.

After the presentation, Silverman said he is “honored and humbled by receiving this award as there are so many inspiring and committed art teachers bringing joy, relevance, and imagination to students and their communities throughout the state.”

Silverman has worked at Saint Michael’s since 1995 and lives in Charlotte. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on aesthetic perspectives, the creative process, and interdisciplinary curriculum to prospective and current teachers.

He also supervises students in their teaching internships and advises graduate students on their thesis, and has published articles and led numerous workshops at conferences on innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum, replenishing artistic identity for teachers, and professional development for school reform.

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