Liberty Middle School art teacher receives national award

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Liberty Middle School art teacher Kristy Lopez has been awarded the Claire Flanagan Memorial Award, the top national award for New Jersey’s Youth Art Month; Flanagan founded Youth Art Month more than 50 years ago. Lopez is Youth Art Month co-chairwoman with Karen Mannino, an art teacher at George Washington Elementary School in Hillside. Mannino won the award with Lopez.

“I am incredibly grateful for winning this award with Karen Mannino. We really care about and believe in this program,” Lopez said. “We’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many students and their families at our receptions, giving these artists their moment in the spotlight and hopefully a glimmer of inspiration to pursue the arts.”

Along with Mannino, Lopez documented their Youth Art Month activities, noting observances, funding, participation, community support, special materials and proclamations. Visit their Blogspot at yamnj.blogspot.com. Youth Art Month is a program observed nationally every March to advocate for art education and the visual arts in schools.

State chairpersons and their state art education associations are eligible for national recognition and financial awards for their participation in Youth Art Month and their impact on K-12 visual art education. Outstanding Youth Art Month programs are recognized based on each state’s digital presentation documenting the state’s Youth Art Month activities.

“Nationally, more and more states are getting involved and displaying what they are doing with their programs online, so the ability to stand out amongst all the competition is very special. We want to thank the Council for Art Education for recognizing all our efforts, and the efforts of our incredible team of county chairs, without whom none of this would be possible,” Lopez said. 

Lopez and Mannino will be recognized during the 2020 National Art Education Association Convention in March in Minneapolis, Minn. The West Orange Board of Education recognized Lopez for her accomplishment at the Jan. 27 meeting.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD

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