Dr. Stephanie Busbea, who has taught for more than a decade, received the Preservice Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence from the National Art Education Association (NAEA). The award is reserved for those who are active sponsors of the preservice chapter and who are devoted to the promotion of future professionals in the society. A fellow Mississippi art teacher who recognized the time and effort Busbea devoted to her students nominated her during the fall semester. She received the award at the National Art Convention in New York City on March 4 at the Higher Education Awards Ceremony, alongside several of her art education students. In addition to this, the NAEA honored her with the Mary Quinn Dix Leadership Award during the Mississippi Art Education Association Awards ceremony on Nov. 12, 2021.
Busbea’s passion for art began early. She had a natural ability to draw realistic pieces as a child, and her family enrolled her in art classes at a young age. Through this creative outlet, she met many mentors. “One of my favorite mentors, Charlott Jones, was a teacher I took art from in elementary school, and she was my advisor in college,” she said. In 1987, the two traveled together to NAEA’s conventions. “When I became coordinator for art education at Mississippi College, I started taking my students to the conventions. It really makes a difference in students’ lives and that’s why I keep doing it.”
Busbea received her undergraduate degree in art education from Arkansas State University, and went on to gain her master’s from the University of Georgia and Ph. D. from the University of Texas. In 1990, she began her teaching occupation at elementary schools in Arkansas. It wasn’t long before she moved up into instructing middle schoolers and high schoolers. “I always knew I wanted to train up art teachers. Seeing them go from freshmen to student teachers to new teachers to mentor teachers–I love seeing them do that. That’s my joy,” she said. “They’re my girls. They’re like family to me.”
Busbea’s art students are inspired daily by her passion for teaching. “She’s able to teach us so much because she has experience in many art forms. She has made me a better artist and I hope to teach like her one day,” Dani Henderson, a senior art education major, said.
Corrie Lee, a junior art education major who accompanied Busbea and Henderson to the New York Convention, is grateful for the opportunity to learn under Busbea. “She has taught me so much about what a good teacher looks like. I have truly learned so much from her academically and relationally, in the way she interacts with her students and exemplifies what a teacher should be,” she said.
Besides teaching others how to create beautiful art, the MC art professor enjoys embarking on projects of her own. One of her current projects is an art series based on fiber artist Anni Albers’s works. Albers, a 20th century student from the Bauhaus art school in Germany, was not allowed to work in the wood or glass shop because she was a female. As a result, she worked mainly through textiles and fibers. Busbea has extended her own interpretation to include wood, glass, and metal.