Dr. Lisa Kay Receives the Mary J. Rouse Award

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Dr. Lisa Kay, an assistant professor in the Department of Art Education and Community Arts Practices, has been honored with the Mary J. Rouse Award.

“Seeing my name added to the list of the previous award recipients, who have shaped the field of Art Education, is an incredible tribute,” Dr. Kay said. “I am humbled.”

The award is given by the National Art Education Association Women’s Caucus. Its purpose is to recognize the work of a professional who has shown potential to make significant contributions in the art education profession.

“Receiving this award supports my previous research efforts with art education and students at-risk, challenges me to continue my work with adolescent girls with adverse childhood experiences and involves the development of a transformational trauma-informed art curriculum for art teachers who work with troubled students,” Dr. Kay said.

As a Jewish, female artist and scholar, Dr. Kay says that her work is inspired by Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. The Bauhaus-trained artist who was renowned for her healing work teaching to children at the Terezin ghetto camp during WWII.

“My interest in narrative story telling – that encourages personal reflection, self knowledge, and healing in the context of making art – is evidenced in all that I do: my scholarly publications, my dedication to art education and art therapy, my own art work,” Dr. Kay said.

Before becoming an art educator, Dr. Kay worked in graphic design and practiced art therapy.

After moving to Northern Illinois and starting a private practice as an art therapist, Dr. Kay was invited to speak about art therapy to an art education class at Northern Illinois University. It was there that she met Dr. Deborah Smith-Shank, a fellow art educator, who encouraged her to enter the doctoral program.

“Coming from a therapeutic background, I wondered how I would negotiate the shift from art therapy to art education,” Dr. Kay said. “What I began to understand on this new path was that everything was connected. Both fields could inform the other and I could bridge multiple worlds. I found my creative voice in my tripartite identities as art therapist, art educator and artist/researcher, which are inextricably linked and essential for me to balance multiple realms and roles. I know no other way.”

Dr. Kay began teaching at Tyler in 2010.

“I couldn’t ask for a better place to be. The students and faculty are top notch,” Dr. Kay said. “Art is integral in my research practice and my teaching is part of my art practice.”

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