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Mary Hilger Receives 2011 Outstanding Indiana Art Educator of the Year Award

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The Art Education Association of Indiana (AEAI) is theprofessional education organization dedicated to promotion, advancement, andimprovement of art education at all levels in the state of Indiana. The goalsof AEAI are to increase public awareness, develop strategies for art educationadvocacy, inform membership about current issues and political action,recognize outstanding teacher performance and programs statewide, and assistthe Indiana State Department of Education in development and implementation ofart education curriculum materials and resources.


Mary Hilger Receives 2011 OutstandingIndiana Art Educator of the Year Award

TheArt Education Association of Indiana will be holding its annual convention 4ththrough 6th in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fort Wayne resident Mary Hilgerhas beenselected to receive the Outstanding Art Educator of the Year award. Awardrecipients are nominated by their peers and are teachers who show outstandingartistic achievement and service in education.

Mrs.Hilger presently teaches middle school art at Indian Springs Middle School inColumbia City. She attended Indiana State University and holds Bachelor’s andMaster’s degrees from St. Francis College in Fort Wayne. She has served on theScholastic Art Award Competition advisory board, and received a Lilly TeacherCreativity Grant to travel to Italy and study Michelangelo, create drawings,and has published books that she illustrated from that experience. She hastaught summer art camps for 25 years, and has had a student exchange withJapan. She is an active advocate for the arts, and provides multiplesopportunities for her students to exhibit their work. Mary believes that “Godis using me as an instrument to spread His love through the gift of art”, andshe has worked with multiple churches and religious groups in her communitydoing live chalk drawings for charity. Mrs. Hilger drew a portrait in honor ofMother Therese after her death, and presented the portrait to the SisterNirmala and it hangs in Mother Therese’s Mother House in Calcutta, India.She has also presented portraits to Pope JohnPaul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who she actually met. Money for the education ofthe children in Abakaliki, Nigeria was procured through the auction of herartwork, as well.

Terri Nagel, who nominated Mary for this award, says “Mary is a very giving arteducator and spends much of her time helping others to achieve their personalbest, reaching out to share her artistic gifts with the larger community andthe world.”

Jan Boylen, Principal at Indian Springs Middle School says “Mary shares herknowledge and passion with each of her students in our school. She strives toassure that students gain recognition, even at national levels, for theirartistic talents.”

Thereis no doubt that “Mary is the real deal, a self effacing and hard workingindividual who gives it all she has, and then she gives some more.” She istruly deserving of the “AEAI 2011 Outstanding Art Educator Award”.