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ODU Art Professor Honored for Community Service

Patty Edwards, art lecturer at Old Dominion University's Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, was recognized March 20 at the ForKids Inc. 8th Annual Art Auction held at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk. The auction supports critical programs and services to end the cycle of homelessness for families and their children. Included for auction were works of art by ODU faculty members Richard Nickel and John Roth.

Thaler McCormick, executive director of ForKids, presented Edwards an award for community service.

Edwards became involved with ForKids in January 2008 through ODU alumnus Rob Wetherington, who manages the "hot meals and homework program." She was impressed by the organization and immediately facilitated service-learning experiences as a key component within ODU's ARTE 305 course (Elementary Art Education), which prepares students to teach.

Edwards, who holds an M.F.A. from State University of New York a New Paltz, initiated and grew the art education partnership with ForKids, for which ODU art education students researched and implemented art lessons aligned to the Virginia Standards of Learning. She extended the program to the Chrysler Museum of Art in the fall of 2008 to allow ODU students to research and teach within the museum framework.

"Research through arts education is critical for university students," said Edwards. The ODU students taught children's art classes at the museum and provided meaningful learning experiences linked to the permanent collection of art.

The ODU Art Education Program has a longstanding history of service learning, including the Saturday art classes. Working with ForKids and the Chrysler Museum has allowed ODU students to conduct research and make meaningful connections within the gallery setting, Edwards said.

"I am very thankful for the gift of community and proud of the quality work and spirit of service demonstrated by ODU art education students as they prepare as future educators," she added. "I am very thankful to ForKids Inc. and Dr. Scott Howe, the director of education and public programs at the Chrysler Museum of Art, for supporting our ODU Art Education Program."

This article was posted on: March 30, 2009

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