November 9, 2015
Mesalands Community College is pleased to announce that Fine Arts Faculty Member, D’Jean Jawrunner, has been selected as the 2016 New Mexico Higher Education Art Educator of the Year, by the New Mexico Art Education Association (NMAEA). This award recognizes Jawrunner’s exemplary achievements and contributions to the field of post-secondary education and the art education community. Jawrunner accepted her award during a special ceremony at the 2015 NMAEA State Conference in Taos, NM last weekend.
“It’s a lovely honor, but a little embarrassing because there are so many hardworking and deserving people that I know don’t always get recognized and they should. It just makes me feel humble,” Jawrunner said. “The New Mexico Art Educators are a very dedicated group who are totally committed to giving all of the students in our State access to art classes. Art is so important because it teaches critical thinking. This is a skill that we have always been known for in the past; and Americans are innovative and we need to continue that in order to compete in the world.”
Jawrunner also stated that the New Mexico Art Educators are fortunate to have a permanent line item in the State budget for elementary schools to have access to art classes, but not for middle schools and high schools. She says the association is desperately trying to get a permanent line item in the budget for these schools, to always have funding for art programs.
Jawrunner earned an Associate’s Degree in Business from the University of Cincinnati, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from East Carolina University. For the past 18 years, she has been the Foundry Director and the Fine Arts Faculty at Mesalands. She has represented Mesalands and the State of New Mexico with her expertise in foundry and all the steps involved in creating metal sculptures. Her passion for sculpture and foundry are evident with the Annual Iron Pour at Mesalands that draws students from all over the nation. During this event, students in this class pour an average of 5,000 pounds of metal over the weekend. Jawrunner also participates in several sculpture symposiums and workshops, involving the pouring of bronze and iron.
Jawrunner’s career as an artist also includes sculpture created in a range of materials, techniques, and printmaking. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally with world-renowned artists such as, Edgar
Degas, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol. She has commissioned works in parts of England, Ohio, and in New Mexico including: “Porpoise Trinity” at the Gate House in Ashby Magna, England; “Walk Away Blues” at the Greenville Museum of Art in Greenville, NC; and “High Plains Drifters” at the Museum of International Folk, AIPP Purchase Initiative in Santa Fe, NM. Some of her public engagement projects include: a visiting artist for the Arctic Fire Bronze Symposium in Palmer, Wasilla, and Kenai, AK; a visiting artist for the Iron Pour at the Amarillo Museum of Art in Amarillo, TX, and a visiting artist for the Yellow Springs National Bronze Sculpture Symposium in Yellow Springs, OH.
“It’s incredibly exiting that D’Jean and Mesalands Community College are receiving this statewide honor,” said Dr. Thomas W. Newsom, President of Mesalands. “D’Jean is truly an asset to our institution and to our community.”
Jawrunner is currently preparing for the 18th Annual Iron Pour at Mesalands Community College on March 6-12, 2016. Jawrunner will also be teaching a masters class for the NMAEA next summer.