Wisconsin Art Education Association honors UWL art alum, two art faculty members

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Assistant UWL art professor Lisa Lenarz leads a session with future educators during the 2019 School of Education Day on campus. The Wisconsin Art Education Association named her Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator. (UWL photo)

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A UW-La Crosse art graduate and two UW-La Crosse Art Department faculty members earned awards from their peers in the Wisconsin Art Education Association.

The three — 1989 graduate Lynnae Burns, assistant professor Lisa Lenarz and associate lecturer and gallery director Deborah-Eve Lombard — were honored at the organization’s annual conference in Wisconsin Rapids Oct. 21 and 22.

Their awards and nominators’ comments are:

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• Burns, a 1989 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in art and a master’s in professional development in 1994, was named Outstanding Middle Level Art Educator. Burns recently retired from the La Crosse School District, where she taught from 1998-2021.

Nominator Ronnah Metz, an art educator at Harry Spence Elementary School in La Crosse, wrote, in part, “Lynnae is a nurturing and inspiring teacher. … Lynnae’s masterful and attentive teaching leads her students to produce work that is authentically their own, with imagery pulled from their dreams, memories and collective cultural experiences.”

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• Lenarz was named Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator.

Nominator Robert J. Dixon, former co-chair of the UWL Art Department, wrote, in part, “Lisa … recognized that the previous instability in the position created a disjointed view of the student trajectory through the university and the eventual graduation and employment as art educators. She brought together various representatives from the School of Education and coordinated this ‘listen and learn’ session. … This was a well-received event and one that is likely to be duplicated in other departments. This search for understanding has led Lisa to have a stronger advising relationship with her students.”

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• Lombard received a Distinguished Service Award from the association.

Lisa Lenarz nominated her, writing, “Deborah-Eve always considers the educational and community value of teaching art, exhibiting art and experiencing art. We are so very fortunate to have her in our department at UWL. It is my hope she will receive recognition for her dedication and vision to offer our visual art education community more opportunities that expose and engage us with expanded authorship and voices.”

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