October 12, 2012
FRCC_Heidi Strang-click for larger image

FRCC Faculty Heidi Strang Named Art Educator of the Year

Heidi Strang’s delight in art took root in sixth grade in Hawaii, where her military family lived. She entered a drawing of a menehune in an art contest. A menehune is a Hawaiian spirit, a little person, the Hawaiian equivalent to an Irish leprechaun.

Her delight grew as an undergraduate at the University of Northern Colorado, where she majored in art history and printmaking. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1988. And her delight grew more with earning a Master of Arts in art history and museum studies at the University of Denver.

Work at the Denver Art Museum

She worked for about five years at the Denver Art Museum’s New World Department. A territorial assistant, she wrote texts for the pieces of art in the museum’s collections and exhibits.

Before arriving at Front Range in January 2011, Heidi taught art history at several colleges in the Denver metro areas. She also was the co-director of a program at Regis University that helped students become successful with the rigors of college classes. She continued her own education success, too, earning a Ph.D. in educational leadership and innovation from the University of Colorado-Denver.

The Classroom is Her Canvas

“I love the contact with students,” Heidi says. “I love sharing the lives and stories of artists. I try to make it not stuffy.”

In the classroom, Heidi teaches art history. Online, she also teaches art appreciation.

“Art history delves more into the culture of the time,” she says. “It’s how the times shaped what becomes art.”

Art Educator of the Year

Her teaching style and expertise have made Heidi the Colorado Higher Education Art Educator of the Year. The honor is given by the Colorado Art Education Association.

The association praised Heidi when it announced the honor.

“Noted for the vibrancy with which she delivers her instruction, Heidi daily engages her students, breathing life into art history with a finesse that few possess,” the association stated. “Her energy and passion for education is infectious.”

Impacting Students Lives for Years

The association further stated: “She is the epitome of a student-oriented teacher, compassionate, intelligent, outspoken and driven, with the needs of her students always in the forefront of her mind. Her impact on students’ lives and their learning can be seen in their love and loyalty for her as an art educator and human being. Whether it is through following her on Facebook, visiting her on campus, attending her travel series, meeting for art walks or lunch, or having her officiate at their weddings (she is an ordained minister), Dr. Strang’s students remain loyal to her and include her in their lives, long after their tenure as students has ended.”

An Enthusiastic Ally of Students

A former colleague wrote in nomination, “She is that rare, energetic and enthusiastic ally of students. She is the mentor we, as art educators in higher education, often wish we could mirror and model. She is the reflection of that special teacher we had as a student – the sage who was instrumental in focusing our desire to continue to embrace the arts.”

As a sixth-grade student, Heidi captured a Hawaiian spirit. Today, she breathes life into art history for students at Front Range Community College.

 

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a retired soccer referee and newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.