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UH Art Education Professor Wins National Award for Service, Multicultural Advocacy

Sheng Kuan Chung
Professor Sheng Kuan Chung has worked as an art educator for three decades.

Posted January 9, 2018 – Growing up on a farm in southern Taiwan, Sheng Kuan Chung gravitated to doodling, coloring or just tracing images from kitchen tiles.

Chung said his elementary school art teacher further fueled his passion for art, setting him up for a 30-year career as an art educator. He has served the last 14 years as a professor of art education at the University of Houston College of Education.

Chung’s commitment to the profession and advocacy for social justice through art has earned him the 2019 Dr. J. Eugene Grigsby, Jr. award from the National Art Education Association and the Committee on Multi-Ethnic Concerns.

“There is no greater testament of your exemplary contributions to the field of visual arts education than being chosen for this prestigious award,” Deborah Reeve, the association’s executive director, said in a letter to Chung. “Your colleagues throughout the United States and abroad join the NAEA Board of Directors in applauding your leadership, commitment and service to the profession.”

The award’s namesake was known for being the first African-American artist and educator to publish a book for art educators, “Art and Ethics: Background for Teaching Youth in a Pluralistic Society.”

Chung’s research interest centers on socially relevant or culturally responsive teaching in art education.

“Specifically,” he said, “I am interested in engaging students in exploring issues of social justice and cultural marginalization in relation to artistic practices and through an artistic learning journey.”

To that end, Chung recently received a grant from the UH Global Initiatives Office, through the Provost’s Office, to teach free art classes with a multicultural theme for middle schoolers and UH faculty, staff and students. 

Chung, who sits on the board of the association’s journal, Art Education, is set to officially accept the award at the NAEA national convention in Boston in March.

Hazel Bradshaw-Beaumont Young, chair of the association’s multi-ethnic concerns committee, praised Chung as “a selfless art educator, worker and a great reformer.”

Chung also will exhibit artwork at the Conroe Art League 4th Annual National Invitational competition from March 6 to March 30.

–By Kathy Patnaude

–Photos courtesy of Sheng Kuan Chung

 Please enjoy a few examples of Chung's artwork: