'I love being an art educator'

Jan 6, 2017 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Riverton teacher receives Governor's Arts Award

Marianne Vinich said she started shaking when she found a letter addressed to her from Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

When she opened the note and read the first line stating, "Congratulations!" she said she began to cry.

She had been named one of four state residents who received the Wyoming Arts Council's 2016 Governor's Arts Award.

"I was overwhelmed," the Riverton High School art teacher and visual artist said. "I feel immense pride given the high standards and accomplishments of all the nominees, and I am sincerely honored beyond words."

Vinich, who teaches in Riverton and lives in Lander, attended Creighton University before moving to Wyoming and receiving her bachelor's degree in art education from the University of Wyoming.

She has studied at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, and the Mosaic Art School in Ravenna, Italy. She's also taken numerous concentrated classes in an effort to try new and varied techniques of art.

Glass is her passion, though, as is education.

"I dearly love my job and all of my magnificent, creative and very talented students that I teach today and whom I have taught over the years," Vinich said. "I love being an art educator and a professional artist, and I have strived each day of my career for personal and professional excellence in creating extraordinary learning experiences for my students."

She will be recognized during a dinner and awards ceremony Feb. 3 along with the other award recipients.

"I am sincerely thankful to the Wyoming Art Education Association who nominated me for this award and to Gov. Mead for honoring me," Vinich said.

Other recipients were Adam Harris, an author, art historian and curator from Jackson, and Tim Sandlin, an arts advocate and writer from Jackson. A posthumous award was given to Forrest Mars Jr., an arts patron from Big Horn.

The awards were established in 1982, and the winners are selected based on their contributions in Wyoming exemplifying their long-term commitment to the arts, "with special consideration given to nominees whose arts service is statewide."

Nominees are reviewed by the Wyoming Arts Council Board, which then sends recommendations to the governor, who gets to make the final decisions on award recipients.

"There are many nominations submitted for the Governor's Arts Awards each year, and the selection process is quite competitive," reads a Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources statement announcing this year's winners.

Nominations are open to Wyoming citizens, businesses or community members. Criteria used to select winners include the length of their commitment to art, contributions and impact, breadth of support, and involvement in initiatives supporting the arts.

The awards are possible because of an endowment from the Union Pacific Foundation in honor of Mrs. John Loomis, a lifelong patron of arts. For more information on the awards program, call 777-7742.

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