The 2011 Outstanding Higher Level Art Education Art Educator Award was awarded to Clar M. Baldus, Ph. D., of the University of Iowa.
Baldus began her career serving 17 years as a visual arts instructor at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids. She has also worked with students at the elementary, secondary, post-secondary, graduate, and professional development levels in the fields of art, gifted education, and psychology. When speaking of her choices in educational endeavors, Baldus states that, “Her research has been guided by her passion for art, interest in creative processes, and commitment to talent development.”
Currently, Baldus is the Administrator for Rural Schools, Inventiveness, and Visual Arts Programs at the Belin-Blank Center and the State Coordinator for Invent Iowa, an invention program that serves K-12. She is also dually appointed as Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Education and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Psychological & Quantitative Foundations Division of the College of Education at the University of Iowa.
Through her position at the Belin-Blank Center, Baldus has brought the Scholastics Art Awards for visual arts and writing back to the state of Iowa, renewing a focus on quality art instruction. University of Iowa Associate Professor Rachel Marie-Crane Williams, Ph. D., says of Baldus, “I have had the pleasure of working as a judge under Clar’s direction for the Scholastic Awards and I am always so impressed by all of the work and the care that Clar gives this special project. Clar has also traveled to New York to participate in the Scholastic Art Program there. She is a fantastic spokes person for art teachers in our region. Clar is also a passionate artist and teacher with a continued desire to engage in advocacy for the arts.”
Williams mentions that , “Clar also taught the Saturday Morning Workshop at the University of Iowa last year. As a result of her work on this large-scale project nearly 100 children in Iowa City had the opportunity to extend their learning about the visual arts under the direction of pre-service teachers. Saturday Morning Workshop offers an important training ground for our future teachers as well as a great educational experience in the arts for youth ages 4-12.”
Baldus is a continuous influence on excellence in art education in the state of Iowa. She helped organize and hosted a conference this past June on Giftedness, Creativty, and the arts. On this subject Williams stated, “People made connections with top researchers in the field of creativity and also engaged in productive conversations about standards, the Iowa Core Curriculum, and ways to be better teachers.” Attendees left enthused about creativity, and prepared to expand its role in the design of their classroom instruction.
Baldus’ work is an influence and an inspiration to visual arts instructors of all levels in the state of Iowa and across the Midwest. She is very deserving of this award.