Westminster faculty member John Sandoval has received the Connecticut Art Education Association’s 2019 Connecticut Outstanding Secondary Level Art Educator Award for significant contributions to the field of art education.
CAEA is the state’s largest professional organization representing Connecticut’s visual art and museum educators from all levels. The CAEA Outstanding Educator Awards recognize visual arts educators for demonstrating excellence in the classroom, active participation and leadership at the local, state and/or national level, publications and/or exhibits, advocacy for the arts and other art education related accomplishments. Candidates pass through a peer nomination and selection process that is both highly competitive and rigorous.
John was appointed to the Westminster faculty in 2005. In addition to teaching Introduction to Studio Art and Digital Arts, he is director of the school’s Chapel Gallery and Hamilton Gallery. In past years, he has chaired the school’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, taught in the History and English departments, and served as head Swimming and Diving coach, as well as overseeing the diving program for several years.
After growing up in Albuquerque, N. M., John received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art education from the University of New Mexico, later adding a Master of Fine Arts from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. In 1983 at Albuquerque Academy, he entered the world of independent school education, after serving as a public school art teacher at both the high school and middle school levels. Years later as the Art Department chair at the Peddie School, he was taxed with the challenge of rebuilding the Visual Arts Department that led to the creation of a theme based “conceptual art curriculum” broadly influenced by Howard Gardner’s Project Zero and resulting in an additional graduation requirement in art. Since then, he has refined his curricular approach and has shared his methodology in CAEA presentations. He is in his 41st year of teaching.
“I did not set out to be an artist,” said John, in commenting about being an art educator. “Art came looking for me, and in many ways, I was predestined. I had no choice in the matter. …I am rather fond of the concept of what can be identified as ‘liminal space.’ Liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and ‘what will be.’ It is a place of transition, waiting and not knowing. That space between ‘no longer and not yet.’ In both art and art education, we are enveloped in liminal space, and I often inquire in both art and education what can this work become, or who will this student be?”
John will be recognized for his award at the CAEA Awards Dinner April 28.