“You Live Forever Through Your Students” : Artist Joseph Culotta Inducted as Distinguished Fellow of Texas Art Education Association (TAEA)
“You Live Forever Through Your Students” is the mantra of Houston Artist Joseph Culotta, who was recently inducted into the highly distinguished group of Fellows of the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA). The ceremony of induction took place on November 14, 2015, at the TAEA’s 54th Annual Conference held at the Moody Gardens Conference Hotel, which was attended by approximately 1,915 art teachers across the state of Texas.
The TAEA may confer this title upon members who have made long-term distinguished contributions to the work of the association and to the advancement of the profession. Artist Joseph Culotta has given dedicated service to the TAEA and to art educators throughout the state of Texas for the last 20 years, serving as a “teacher’s teacher,” selflessly and tirelessly traveling across the state to educate art teachers so that they may in turn, better educate their own students. Approximately 700 art teachers were present in the conference room at the Moody Gardens Conference Center during the induction, and when the audience was asked to raise their hand if artist Joseph Culotta had taught their Independent School District (ISD) and touched the lives of the teachers and students in their district over the past 20 years, a show of roughly 700 hands went up, including virtually every member of the audience. Artist Culotta didn’t himself realize that he had touched so many lives, by unselfishly and consistently, for the past two decades, giving so much to so many. For these great dedications and gifts to the world of art and education, as well as for the great artistic skills which artist Culotta graciously and benevolently teaches to others, he received the rare and highly distinguished honor of becoming a Fellow of the Texas Art Education Association. Artist.com congratulates and honors Artist Joseph Culotta for this great accolade bestowed upon him by his esteemed peers, which recognizes his two decades of unsurpassed service and excellence to students, teachers, TAEA, and the world of art.
Not only is Artist Joseph Culotta an extraordinarily accomplished artist, currently creating well sought after masterpieces of art, but he has selflessly and tirelessly given countless hours of dedicated service to the education and improvement of others, teaching them his gift and his skills, helping others to achieve greatly and become the best they can be. When asked about his tremendous passion for teaching and educating others, he relates “If I tell you, you hear it; if I show you, you see it; But if you do it, you learn it.” Artist Joseph Culotta also passionately feels that “you live forever through your students.” These tenets of core learning beliefs and principles, merged into one, help to define the drive and passion which have become the sine qua non of Artist Culotta. Artist Culotta also serves as a juror for the annual VASE competition, helping young artists to reach new pinnacles of success, as described below.
Artist Joseph Culotta began his art teaching career as a Junior High School Art Teacher in 1965. He has taught art at the University of Houston, as well as to community colleges. He is district art consultant for Houston ISD, and consultant for SAX/School Specialty where he has conducted countless workshops for TAEA and for NAEA. He has been active in the VASE program since 1994.
At the podium, presenting Artist Culotta his award were Dr. Tina Farrell, and Robert Parker, themselves Fellows as well, having received their inductions in 2008 and 2004, respectively. Dr. Farrell is Advisor to the Executive Committee, and is Professor of Art Education at the University of Houston, Clear Lake. She has served as past Superintendent of Curricula at the Clear Creek ISD. Mr. Parker is a past art teacher in the Brenham ISD, where he taught for 40 years.
The TAEA is an outstanding organization of service and education, and 1,915 art educators attended the 54th Annual Conference held at the Moody Gardens November 12-14, 2015. The organization has made great strides in educating and growing young artists in the schools across Texas, because of its devoted and accomplished leadership. Leading the organization is President Suzanne Greene, who has taught art in the Spring Branch ISD for 40 years. Mr. Tim Lowke, the past president of the TAEA, is Art Supervisor of the Round Rock ISD. Mr. Keith Arney is Chairman of the Distinguished Fellows of the TAEA. Ms. Sara Chapman, TAEA Executive Director, helps to execute the goals of the TAEA, helping students and teachers across Texas. Ms. Cheryl Evans, a past president of TAEA, currently Instructor of Art at Alvin Community College, Director of Art Department Ross Sterling HS, past Art Teacher in the Goose Creek ISD, had also, in 1990, started the Visual Art Scholastic Event (VASE). VASE is an outstanding annual art competition which Ms. Evans volunteered to host, organize, and manage in 1990, the very first year of this Regional event. Ms. Evans’ philosophy is “it is the responsibility of the student to surpass the teacher; it is the responsibility of the teacher to make it happen.” Currently, this incredible competition has grown to annually include 29,000 works of art created by gifted students throughout the state of Texas, which are then narrowed down to what are judged as the best in 2-D and 3-D art. Artist Joseph Culotta serves as one of the judges. Ms. Linda Fleetwood, past president of the TAEA, and currently North East ISD Director for Visual Arts, serves as Director of VASE. Under her leadership, VASE continues to grow, increasing the quality and capacity of art created by students throughout Texas, ultimately leading to high school virtuosos. At the 54th TAEA Conference, during our tour through the exhibits of the 2015 VASE Finalists, the fine works of art created by the students were clearly of museum quality, stunning in originality, form, substance, meaning, and attention to detail.
Keywords: art, artist, students, education, teacher, teachers, VASE, Culotta, TAEA