Leon County Schools Visual Arts Teacher Receives Opening Nights at Florida State Arts Advocate Award

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Sally Ash, winner of the 2021 Defender of the Arts Award.

Opening Nights at Florida State University has selected Sally Ash, professor of visual arts at Woodville School, as the recipient of the 2021 Arts Advocate Award. This award recognizes a professional educator who demonstrates exemplary work with the arts by leveraging local artistic resources.

“Ms. Ash is the most deserving of the Arts Advocate Award 2021,” said Michael Blachly, director of Opening Nights at Florida State University. “While in Woodville, she worked tirelessly, leveraging community grants to fund projects, researching traditional and non-traditional exhibition spaces, and forging partnerships with community organizations and professional artists to enhance the arts curriculum for its students.

Woodville principal Lisa Mehr nominated Ash for the award for continuously exceeding the expectations of the class to provide exceptional artistic opportunities for her students.

“Teachers like Ms. Ash, who let children experience the magic of the arts, can transform the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Rosanne Wood, a member of the Leon County School Board. “Exposure to the arts is essential for a well-rounded education. “

With over nine years of classroom arts education, Ash uses the arts as a visual tool to teach and learn collaboration, life skills, and leadership traits. She also uses engagement in the arts to reinforce lessons presented in other disciplines.

“As fine arts educators, we ultimately nurture the leadership skills that produce a community of citizens who value and demonstrate creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, persistence and accountability. Ash said. “I have witnessed time and time again how the fine art helps educators meet the needs of children for self-actualization, self-esteem, love and belonging, safety and of physiological consciousness. I am honored to accept the Arts Advocate Award 2021 and look forward to continuing this important and enjoyable work. “

(L to R) Christopher Ash, Sally Ash, Fellow, Lisa Mehr, Director at Woodville, Calla MacNamara, Head of Education and Engagement
(From L to R) Christopher Ash; Sally Ash, winner of the 2021 Defender of the Arts Award; Lisa Mehr, director at Woodville; Calla MacNamara Head of Education and Engagement.

Ash has spearheaded professional development opportunities for his Woodville students by creating a guest speaker series on 21st century artistic careers, featuring artists such as Nathan Archer, Lui Nan, Erica Passage and Janae Easton .

She has received grants from the Council on Culture & Arts, Radiology Associates, and the Foundation for Leon County Schools to support innovative and exciting classroom projects for her students. These projects include campus murals celebrating themes such as the intersection of art and music, using symbols of Indigenous heritage, preserving Florida wetlands, and practicing positive character traits such as the kindness.

Ash engages his students in the arts through projects such as the popular Woodville Painted Stone Garden, field trips to the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, and the San Luis Mission. She also assigns classroom projects which were later featured in public art exhibits at Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, Gallery 621, City Hall Gallery in Tallahassee, FAMU’s Foster Tanner, Woodville Founders Day Festival and various public library locations as well as several campus exhibits throughout the school year.

Through Ash’s community partnerships, the art of the Woodville students has been on display in the Opening Nights in Class school shows in Woodville and was recently featured on WCTV as part of the County Public Library’s Viral Voices campaign. Leon.

For more information, visit Openingnights.fsu.edu.


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