2018 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Arts Education

Chandra Hemminger has been teaching art at Summit High School since 2010. She teaches a variety of classes at the school including, Art Foundations, Painting & Drawing, and Ceramics & Sculpture. As an artist herself, Chandra has a passion for ceramics and she is heavily involved in the Flagstaff art community. Chandra has been praised for looking beyond the classroom and providing a variety of opportunities for her students.

Chandra has collaborated with various artists and organizations to bring artistic opportunities to her students. In the past she has collaborated with the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth, and the Flagstaff Arts Council. For instance, her students have always had a strong showing at the Arts Council’s Youth Art Exhibition – an annual art show that gives k-12 students a chance to have their work displayed in a professional gallery. Her staff web page includes a calendar of local art events, so students can be tapped into the wider art community and find places for inspiration beyond the classroom.

In 2017, Chandra worked with the City of Flagstaff and a professional group of muralists, the Mural Mice, to create a mural for Summit High School’s campus. Students were involved in every step of the process. With the help of the Mural Mice, they brainstormed concepts for the project. The theme they came up with was “I am the Storm”, which focuses on the power of change, and emphasises important ideas such as diversity and community. Students then worked through their art class period, and even volunteered time before and after school to create the mural. Chandra’s mural project provided an opportunity for students to give something back to their school and create a work of art that can be enjoyed by many future generations of students. It also illustrates the power of art to convey a positive message, especially in a public space.

Chandra is always looking for ways to grow both as an artist and as an educator. Her own artwork has been displayed and sold at various galleries, businesses, and craft sales throughout Flagstaff. She also demonstrates a commitment to improving herself as a teacher, by collaborating and exchanging ideas with fellow educators. For the past few years she has attended and/or presented at the National Art Education Association Conference. Chandra is always willing to learn new educational concepts and incorporate them into her everyday classroom routine.

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