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College Art Association

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Distinguished Teaching of Art Award

The Distinguished Teaching of Art Award, established in 1972, is presented to an individual who has been actively engaged in teaching art for most of his or her career. This award is presented to an artist of distinction who has developed a philosophy or technique of instruction based on his or her experience as an artist; has encouraged his or her students to develop their own individual abilities; and/or has made some contribution to the body of knowledge loosely called theory and understood as embracing technical, material, aesthetic, and perceptual issues.

2016 Winner

Sabina Ott

For over 25 years, Sabina Ott has contributed to academic excellence through innovative approaches to curriculum and the classroom. She has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, California State University.  She is currently a Professor at Columbia College Chicago. 

Her devotion to teaching and the arts community is matched by the success of her art career and a studio practice that has become more ambitious in scale and deeper in collaboration over recent years. As a result she was awarded a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and has had major exhibitions at the LA County Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Corcoran Gallery of Art to name just a few.

Her dedication to the instruction of art combined with her accomplishments as a respected artist, curator, gallery founder, and advocate, make Sabina one of those rare instructors, who seamlessly  integrates her professional success into her teaching and the Chicago artistic community at large.

Sabina's office is known to be overflowing with dynamic activity. On any given day you will find students, visiting artists and instructors of every level and discipline in lively discussion. This collective sense of shared responsibility for creating a discourse and a community of artists/scholars sets Sabina apart from many professors in academia.  As such, Sabina is a constructor of communities. She makes her pupils stronger by uniting them in a competitive and introspective field while helping them mold lasting friendships. For example, her project Terrain-now global began in her front yard with invitations to exhibiting artists from around the globe. This real-world model for creating an art space and a space for art is an excellent example of Sabina's approach to teaching.

Brilliant, generous, and innovative, she has nurtured generations of students to live creative lives and develop successful careers as professional artists, curators, and cultural workers.  Sabina’s impact on her students’ careers is immeasurable. The amount of care and generosity she gives to her students, fellow artists and various creative communities is remarkable and outstanding.

Jury: Jacki Apple, Art Center College of Design, chair; Reni Gower, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Anita Jung, University of Iowa.

Past Winners

The first five winners of the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award—Josef Albers, Tony Smith, Philip Guston, Jack Tworkov, and Grace Hartigan—are all major figures from the American modernist canon. Demonstrating effectively that the teaching and practice of art is often inseparable, each professor has influenced thousands of art students over the years, in mediums ranging from sculpture (Lester Van Winkle), painting (Wayne Thiebaud, Mercedes Matter), and printmaking (Robert Blackburn) to photography (Jerry N. Uelsmann), new media (Margaret Lovejoy), and interdisciplinary practices (Hans Haacke, Vernon Fisher).

2015 Richard Brown

Jury: Karen Kunc, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, chair; Jacki Apple, Art Center College of Design; and Virginia Derryberry, University of North Carolina, Asheville.

2014 Reni Gower, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jury: Karen Kunc, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, chair; Jacki Apple, Art Center College of Design; and Virginia Derryberry, University of North Carolina, Asheville

2013 Buzz Spector, Washington University in Saint Louis

Jury: Karen Kunc, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, chair; Margot Lovejoy, Purchase College, State University of New York; and Dean Nimmer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (emeritus) and Holyoke Community College

2012 Jacki Apple, Art Center College of Design

Jury: Barbara Tisserat, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Margot Lovejoy, Purchase College, State University of New York; and Dean Nimmer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (emeritus) and Holyoke Community College

2011 William Itter, Indiana University

Jury: Debra Drexler, University of Hawai‘i, chair; Dean Nimmer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Holyoke Community College; and Barbara Tisserat, Virginia Commonwealth University

2010 Dean Nimmer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Jury: Debra Drexler, University of Hawai‘i, chair; Barbara Tisserat, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Ronald Leax, Washington University in St. Louis

2009 Roland Reiss, Claremont Graduate University

Jury: Lester Van Winkle, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Debra Drexler, University of Hawai‘i; and Ronald Leax, Washington University in St. Louis

2008 Ronald A. Leax, Washington University in St. Louis

Jury: Michael Aurbach, Vanderbilt University, chair; Muriel Magenta, Arizona State University; Yong Soon Min, University of California, Irvine; and Lester Van Winkle, professor emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University

2007 Margot Lovejoy, Purchase College, State University of New York

Jury: Michael Aurbach, Vanderbilt University, chair; Muriel Magenta, Arizona State University; Yong Soon Min, University of California, Irvine; and Lester Van Winkle, Virginia Commonwealth University

2006 Lester Van Winkle, Virginia Commonwealth University

Lester Van Winkle

Lester Van Winkle

Jury: Michael Krueger, University of Kansas, chair; Michael Aurbach, Vanderbilt University; Yong Soon Min, University of California, Irvine; Wayne Potrantz, University of Minnesota; and Muriel Magenta, Arizona State University

2005 Lloyd Menard, University of South Dakota

Committee: Christine M. Waters, University of Michigan, Flint, chair; Leslie King-Hammond, Maryland Institute of Art; Michael Krueger, University of Kansas; Wayne Potratz, University of Minnesota; and Gina Werfel, University of California, Davis

2004 Robert Reed, Yale University

Committee: Christine M. Waters, University of Michigan, Flint, chair; Leslie King-Hammond, Maryland Institute of Art; Michael Krueger, University of Kansas; Wayne Potratz, University of Minnesota; and Gina Werfel, University of California, Davis

2003 Harvey Breverman, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Committee: Thomas Morrissey, Community College of Rhode Island, chair; Christine Waters, University of Michigan, Flint; Leslie King-Hammond, Maryland Institute of Art; and Gina Werfel, University of California, Davis

2002 Hans Haacke, Cooper Union School of Art

Committee: Thomas Morrissey, Community College of Rhode Island, chair; Robert Rindler, Copper Union, Larry Thomas, San Francisco Art Institute; and Christine Waters, University of Michigan, Flint

2001 Jerry N. Uelsmann, University of Florida

Committee: Archie Rand, Columbia University, chair; Thomas Morrissey, Community College of Rhode Island; Larry Thomas, San Francisco Art Institute; and Robert Rindler, Cooper Union

2000 Winifred Lutz

Committee: Archie Rand, Columbia University, chair; Robert Rindler, Cooper Union; Norie Sato; and Larry Thomas, San Francisco Art Institute

1999 Ruth Weisberg, University of Southern California

Committee: John S. Gordon, Pratt Institute, chair; Archie Rand, Columbia University; Joseph M. Ruffo, University of Nebraska; and Norie Sato, independent artist

1998 Robert Swain, Hunter College, City University of New York

Committee: Ofelia Garcia, College of Arts and Communication, chair; John S. Gordon, Pratt Institute; Joseph M. Ruffo, University of Nebraska; and Norie Sato, independent artist

1997 Ken Ferguson

Committee: Ofelia Garcia, College of Arts and Communication, chair; William Conger, Northwestern University; John S. Gordon, Pratt Institute; Joseph M. Ruffo, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and Raymond Saunders, California College of Arts and Crafts

1996 Edna Andrade

Committee: Diane Burko, chair; William Conger, Northwestern University; Ofelia Garcia; Joseph Ruffo, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and Raymond Saunders, California College of Arts and Crafts

1995 Andrew Forge and Jules Heller

Committee: Joan Backes, South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, cochair; Diane Burko, Community College of Philadelphia, cochair; William Conger, Northwestern University; and Raymond Saunders, California College of Arts and Crafts

1994 Paul Brach

Committee: Murry DePillars, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Joan Backes, South Dartmouth, Massachusetts; Diane Burko, Community College of Philadelphia; and Carolyn Manosevitz, Austin Community College

1993 Richard Carlyon, Virginia Commonwealth University

Committee: Murry DePillars, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Joan Backes, Kansas City Art Institute; Carolyn Manosevitz, Austin Community College; and Idelle Weber, Harvard University

1992 Vernon Fisher, University of North Texas

Committee: Murry DePillars, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Leonard Hunter, San Francisco State University; Carolyn Manosevitz, Austin Community College; and Idelle Weber, Harvard University

1991 William Daley, University of the Arts; and Sylvia Lark, University of California, Berkeley

Committee: Leonard Hunter, San Francisco State University, chair; Robert Blackburn, Printmaking Workshop; and Suzanne Stephenson, Eastern Michigan University

1990 Robert Blackburn, Printmaking Workshop

Committee: Vivian Browne, Rutgers University, chair; Harry Nadler; and Adolf Rosenblat

1989 Vivian Browne, Rutgers University

Committee: Nancy Macko, chair; George Bayliss; and Beatrice Rivas Sanchez, Kansas City Art Institute

1988 Wilbur Niewald, Kansas City Art Institute

Committee: Beatrice Rivas Sanchez, Kansas City Art Institute, chair; George Bayliss, Tyler School of Art, Temple University; and Nancy Macko, Scripps College

1987 George McNeil, Pratt Institute

Committee: Cynthia Carlson, chair; Roger Gilmore, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Leonard Lehrer; and Arizona State University, Tempe

1986 Bernard Chaet, Yale University

Committee: William Bailey, chair; Pat Adams, Bennington College; and Wayne Thiebaud, University of California, Davis

1985 Leon Golub, Rutgers University

Committee: Ellen Lanyon, chair; Robert Arneson, University of California, Davis; and Nancy Graves

1984 Pat Adams, Bennington College

Committee: Barbara Zucker, University of Vermont, chair; Peter Plagens; and Roy Slade

1983 Elmer Bischoff

Committee: Sandy Wormfeld, chair; Joan Brown; and Grace Hartigan

1982 Gyorgy Kepes

Committee: Ed Colker, chair; Jerome Hausman; and Wayne Thiebaud

1981 Wayne Thiebaud

Committee: James McGarrell, chair; Robert Gray; and Howardena Pindell

1980 Mauricio Lasansky

Committee: Rudy Pozzatti, chair; Richard Black; Nathan Oliviera; Clare Romano; and William Walmsley

1979 Louis Finkelstein

Committee: Wolf Kahn, chair; Dore Ashton; Edward Betts; George Bunker; and Jason Seley

1978 Mercedes Matter

Committee: Miriam Schapiro, chair; Natalie Charkow; and David Pease

1977 Grace Hartigan

Committee: Miriam Schapiro, chair; Natalie Charkow, and David Pease

1976 Jack Tworkov

Committee: Rudy Pozzatti, chair; Dore Ashton; William Bailey; and Miriam Schapiro

1975 Philip Guston

Committee: Rudy Pozzatti, chair; Dore Ashton; William Bailey; and Miriam Schapiro

1974 Tony Smith

Committee: Ed Wilson, chair; Al Held; Rudy Pozzatti; Barbara Rose; Miriam Schapiro; and Donald Judd

1973 Josef Albers

Committee: Ed Wilson, chair; Garo Antreasian; William Bailey; Katherine Kuh;and George Rickey