Abia-Smith named museum art educator of year

Lisa Abia-Smith, director of education at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and an instructor in the Arts and Administration Program, has been named Oregon Museum Education Art Educator of the Year by the Oregon Art Education Association (OAEA). 

Lisa Abia-Smith
Above: Lisa Abia-Smith

Abia-Smith has taught museum education at UO since 1997.

Abia-Smith is an active member in the AAD community, teaching courses at both the undergraduate and the graduate level including AAD 199: Writing for Art: Art of Writing; AAD 250 Art and Human Values; AAD 520: Youth Arts Curriculum; and AAD 529: Museum Education.

As Director of Education for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Abia-Smith has administered an outreach education program that includes studio classes for adults, UO students, families, and children. She also participates in museum education in the community by helping to design and implement K-12 curriculum for teachers aligning with museum content. In addition, she assists in curating interactive exhibits for families at the museum and helps to plan exhibitions and re-installations of permanent and temporary works of art.

She holds a master’s degree in museum studies from John F. Kennedy University, a bachelor’s in art from St. Mary’s College of California, and dual bachelors in art history and painting from the Institute of American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France.

“For many years, Lisa Abia-Smith has made significant contributions to the Arts and Administration Program as both an instructor and as a key mentor for our students interested in the museum education field,” says Patricia Dewey Lambert, associate professor and director of the UO Arts and Administration Program. “The well-deserved award she has now received from the Oregon Art Education Association recognizes Lisa’s state-wide renown in this field and underscores how fortunate the University of Oregon is to have Lisa on board as an administrative and instructional specialist.”

Prior to joining the JSMA, Abia-Smith worked at museums including The Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora, both in San Francisco, California; and the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California. In addition to teaching at UO, her academic career includes serving as curator of education and visiting assistant professor at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York.

“These fine professionals were nominated by their colleagues and their nomination materials were rated through a process of blind adjudication according to specific rubrics from the National Art Education Association,” the OAEA website states. 

Abia-Smith, along with seven other art educators who won this year’s awards, were honored at an OAEA awards breakfast on Saturday, October 11, at Wilsonville High School.

The Oregon Art Education Association administers a professional awards program to recognize and highlight excellence in the many outstanding individuals, associations, and programs devoted to furthering art education in Oregon. 

Winners of the OAEA professional awards are nominated by at least five colleagues from across the state. The awards span eight categories including Art Educator of the Year at the secondary, middle, and higher education levels; Rookie Art Educator of the Year; and the Outstanding Service Outside the Profession Award. 

October 23, 2014