Sandra Reed Cont.

Reed was awarded the SECAC Award for Excellence in Teaching during Watershed, the annual meeting of SECAC in Baltimore, MD on October 27, 2022. The award is made “in recognition of outstanding teaching accomplishments (within the last two years) by a SECAC member who demonstrates an exceptional command of their discipline through the ability to teach effectively, impart knowledge, and inspire students.” She taught HON 291 Drawing and Visual Literacy, a freshman Yeager seminar, during Spring 2023. For the course, the ten-member 2027 Yeager cohort joined the School of Art & Design’s annual trip to New York City. Noteworthy scheduled activities included viewing The Starry Night painting by Vincent Van Gogh at the Museum of Modern Art; meeting with curator Craig Drennen to discuss concepts embodied in the two-part #solotogether exhibition of Paula Crown’s work in the Rockefeller Center’s Rink Level Gallery and Channel Garden; and gaining literal perspective from Top of the Rock, the open-air observation deck of the Rockefeller Center. The Yeager students’ observations on New York City’s visual culture can be seen on Instagram at artprojectburneraccount.

Reed received a 2023 Creative Aging in Lifelong Learning (CALL) grant through the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, with matching funds from the Drinko Academy. With these funds, she hired four art alumni from the School of Art & Design as Teaching Artists within area senior centers, to model this role for art students as a viable component of a working artist’s livelihood. The alumni were Barb Lavalley Benton (Class of 2022), Shyanna Ashcraft (Class of 2021), Sophia Celdran (Class of 2021) and Karen Fry (Class of 2019). Each of these Teaching Artists designed and presented a seven-week art workshop in their hometown senior center. In Cabell County, the partner sites were The Village at Riverview (Barboursville) and the Marie Redd Senior Life  and Enrichment Center (a CCCSO facility in Huntington), while in Wayne County, the partner sites were the Wayne Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Ceredo Senior Wellness Center. In the latter site, the Mayor of Ceredo Paul Billups, renovated a suite of offices in the Ceredo Senior Wellness Center (the former Ceredo Elementary School) as an art studio, creating a new and permanent resource for the community. The art alumni received guidance to prepare them for their work with older adults from Professor of Special Education Dr. Lori Howard, Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Penny Koontz, Professor of Social Work Dr. Peggy Proudfoot Harman, Associate Professor of Communication Disorders Dr. Kelly Rutherford, and Professor of Art Education Dr. Maribea Barnes. The CALL art workshops concluded in May 2023 and provided unique creative experiences for more than 40 individuals.

Building on the framework of the CALL project, Reed joined an interdisciplinary group of faculty to develop “Art Intervention: A community-based study of the impact of visual art on the cognitive and other aspects of healthy aging,” which was selected in April 2023 as one of the Geriatric Pilot Grant projects to receive funding from the Huntington Foundation through Marshall Health, the School of Medicine, and MURC. This project combines art workshops with a health study in order to collect data regarding potential impact of visual art activity on six measures of well-being, including cognition, depression, loneliness, pain, social connection, and stress. If health benefits are identified, the data may be used to advocate for an increase in visual arts funding as an integral aspect of care plans. The Barboursville Senior Center and the Ceredo Senior Wellness Center are partner sites for the art-intervention project.  The members of the original grant team include Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Masa Toyama, Cynthia Pinson, M.D., Asma Nayyar, M.D., and Martha Sommers, M.D., with advisory support from Howard and from Dr. Richard Egleton, Assistant Dean of Biomedical Research and Graduate Education at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, who has joined the project as a co-investigator. Fry and Lavalley Benton continue as Teaching Artists for this project. Dr. Toyama will train graduate psychology students to conduct the health assessments. Undergraduate art students will assist Fry and Lavalley Benton. All of the workshops feature the same art activity, which is titled, “Life Bouquet.”  Lavalley Benton was inspired to develop this workshop after inventing the form as a project during her senior year in Reed’s ART 418 Advanced Drawing course. More information can be found here.

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