19:40 PM

UHCL’s Art School Director named ‘Outstanding Art Educator’ at TAEA conference

Written by: Lauren Sawyer

University of Houston- Clear Lake’s Director of Art School for Children and Young Adults David Moya recently received the ‘Outstanding Art Educator’ award for the higher education division at the Texas Art Education Association Conference (TAEA). This award is presented to one TAEA member from each division every year for their significant contributions to the association-and to art- on the local, state and national levels.

Moya was nominated in February 2023 by Kaylyn Sellers, one of his clinical seniors. She said Moya exemplifies what it is to be an educator, an advocate, a mentor and friend.

“During my time at UHCL, Dr. Moya has shown dedication to the Art School and has served as an advocate for the arts at UHCL, within the local community and the Greater Houston area,” she said. “During the pandemic, he transformed the Art School for Children programming to be fully remote and offered livestream classes to serve more students throughout Houston.”

Sellers added that Moya has been instrumental in creating a bridge between the public and UHCL “in the name of art.”

“He created the Art for Educators workshops program, which provides professional development for art educators,” she said. “These workshops allow local art educators to visit our campus, and experience our faculty and facilities, which further advocates for the Art Education program.”

Sellers said she truly believes Dr. Moya is a transformational leader in education and is worthy of recognition from his peers.

“I wish more than anything to bring about visibility of the fine work he is doing at UHCL so that it can be implemented by more educators,” she said.

Moya was surprised to be selected for a state recognized award in his discipline.

 “There are too many emotions to recount. I’m honored that someone would see the work I’ve done through the years and nominate me,” he said. “I’m grateful to be an example for my family, students and community. I feel validated because people don’t always praise your work, and on the contrary, are quicker to point out faults."

 Moya’s achievements were competitive among his peers in the state. He can still remember wanting to become an art educator, but never thought he would be an ‘Outstanding Art Educator.’

Moya’s love for art began at age 4, when his father, a deployed U.S. Marine, sent him drawings of trains and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Young Moya had no idea that the drawings would inspire his future artistic endeavors.

“I connected with those little drawings and was amazed by them. Art has always been a great challenge and a greater reward,” Moya said. “The challenge of creating something from nothing makes me feel awake. The greater reward is the impact the work has on my soul.”

One of the ways art saved Moya’s life, was by helping him cope with suicidal thoughts and ideations during his high school years. He said the impact a visual image holds on a person can fuse the past and the present, giving hope for the future.

It was also in high school when Moya realized he wanted to be an art educator. He said his teachers, Laura Grundler and Amy Semifero, played a monumental role in shaping his passion for art and serving people. As a UHCL alumnus, he also credits his professors for his success.

“During my time at UHCL, Jason Makepeace, Dr. Ann Waltz and Dr. Jana Willis were my mentors in helping me navigate visual arts and education at the collegiate level," he said.

Moya is deeply committed to continuing his mission in expanding art throughout UHCL and the community and looks forward to what’s to come for the Art School. He said they plan to start offering courses at UHCL at Pearland in the spring, establish an after-school program at the intermediate school level, and host an Art and Design Open House to showcase the studios, faculty and Art School next fall.

For more information about UHCL’s Art School for Children visit, www.uhcl.edu/childrens-art-school/.