A&M-Commerce Art Professor Barbara Frey Receives NCECA Award
By Sydni Walker
COMMERCE, TX—Texas A&M University-Commerce Art Professor Barbara Frey will receive the 2013 National Council for Education of the Ceramic Arts Excellence in Teaching Award at the March 22 NCECA Conference.
“This is an award of national significance,” said Frey. “My receiving of this award will put A&M-Commerce on a very select list.”
The NCECA website states: “Recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award are individuals who are near or at the end of a career dedicated to the practice of teaching (may be awarded posthumously); have demonstrated excellence in their own creative work; have previous recognition for and a history of awards in teaching; and have highly visible former students in the field.”
At the upcoming ceramics exhibition reception, Frey will officially announce to the university that she will be receiving the NCECA award. The exhibition entitled “From the CAV(e) to the Temple” highlights work from three alumni of the A&M-Commerce Ceramics program: Katherine Taylor, Chris Blackhurst and Charley Allen. The opening reception is February 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the University Gallery.
This exhibition is part of the state-wide celebration of ceramics in conjunction with the 47th annual NCECA conference taking place in Houston March 20-23.
“I selected alumni who received their BFA degrees here and have enjoyed success in the professional world,” Frey said. “Also, the alumni I selected are doing very different kinds of work including sculpture, vessels and tile installation; yet, they all received their foundation with me.”
The work in the exhibition shows the transition from the Creative Arts Village (or “cave”)of the painting, printmaking and ceramics programs at A&M-Commerce from the mid 1970s to 2005 to the Wathena Temple of Fine Arts Building.
The Creative Arts Village was a grouping of four buildings of impressive square footage for the arts. The ceramics studio took up one entire building, and was a place far enough away from campus that students felt freedom to be creative. Eventually, the upkeep of the four vast spaces became a burden, and the university decided to transform the Wathena Temple Home Economics Building to the Wathena Temple Fine Arts Building. Frey helped design the renovations, and it was completed in 2005.
The new ceramics facility is located on half of the first floor, and it is complete with all new equipment and furnishings. The organization of the space focuses on an organic workflow, dedicated spaces for all phases of the ceramic process, and four private graduate studios.
The three artists each represent different chapters in the evolution of the ceramics program and the use of the two facilities. Taylor spent her undergraduate work solely at the CAV; Blackhurst started at the CAV, helped with the move and finished her degree at Wathena Temple; and Allen had all his ceramics classes at the Wathena Temple.
These three artists embody the diversity of choice and direction Frey had as an instructor. Taylor is making sculpture, Blackhurst works with tile installations, and Allen is a potter.
“It is my greatest gratification as a teacher to see students find their voice and progress along the path to maturity as artists, going far beyond what I was able to offer them as their starting point,” said Frey. “Honoring these former students at the same time that I am being honored as a teacher completes the circle.”
For more information about the ceramics exhibition or the Art Department, contact Barbara Frey at Barbara.Frey@tamuc.edu.