With a lifelong passion for art, University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School Dean Nancy Stuart has dedicated her career to helping students pursue their dreams of becoming artists. Members of Connecticut’s creative community will recognize her dedication when she is presented with the 2016 Scott Shuler Distinguished Art Advocate Award on May 1. The Connecticut Art Education Association (CAEA), a professional organization representing art teachers, gives the award each year to exemplary art educators for significant advocacy and contributions to the field of art education.
“It is a true honor to be recognized for having made a positive impact,” Stuart says of the award.
Daniel Rosenthal Baxter, an art teacher in Simsbury and member of CAEA says, “Stuart’s longstanding commitment to higher education, cross disciplinary approach, and active process of creating art gives her a unique perspective that is very valuable to students.” In her role as dean, Stuart encourages Hartford Art School students to follow their passions and take advantage of the many opportunities that the University offers. With the breadth and depth of the art programs, students can explore their varied interests and mix different art styles. “Our history, heart, and talent make the Hartford Art School a really special place,” Stuart says.
The award also honors Stuart’s dedication to the local art community. She serves on several boards, including the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, and the iQuilt project, which aims to connect exceptional assets such as museums in downtown Hartford. She also encourages training of art teachers and helps organize the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Award Program that is held annually at the University.
Stuart started her career in higher education at a community college in Michigan, where she taught photography for 11 years. She then took a job at Rochester University in New York, where she received tenure and became the department chair. During this time, she also went back to school to obtain a PhD in education. With a new degree, she was offered a job at Cleveland Institute of Art, where she was the provost for ten years. Since 2012, Stuart has worked as the dean for Hartford Art School.