2007 Governors Arts Awards
Arts Education Award Recipient:
Phoebe Ann Neiswenter, Pembroke
Throughout her 39 year career, Phoebe Ann Neiswenter has actively pursued excellence in the field of visual arts education. She has encouraged, challenged, and supported colleagues and students to explore their full potential. She has encouraged teachers under her supervision to serve as officers of the state arts educators association, as gallery directors, and as overseas exchange teachers. Thanks to her inspiration, many have received professional recognition from various sources.
Neiswenter has been a tireless advocate toward the goal of raising awareness of the value of the arts and the role of the arts in human fulfillment. As an educator, she has been active in shaping each component of visual arts education including, curriculum, outreach, and mentorship. She has promoted a high work ethic and standards of excellence.
In the early 1980s, Neiswenter recognized the need for a specific and sequential arts curriculum. Before the existence of national standards or NH frameworks, she influenced Concord art teachers to adopt that vision. She succeeded in persuading the community and school board to implement weekly elementary art instruction for students in grades one through six as well as a full program for grades seven through twelve. Because of its success, the Concord School District art program became a model as art teachers statewide observed, requested copies of the curriculum, and consulted Neiswenter. This curriculum, updated to align with state and national standards, is still in use. In 1985 Neiswenter was named New Hampshire Art Educator of the Year.
Upon her retirement from public education, Neiswenter was invited to teach at the NH Institute of Art, for which she has developed a comprehensive college-level curriculum. She oversees the Institute’s Interior Design program.
Recognized as a leader in the promotion of arts education, Neiswenter has served as presenter, keynote speaker, advisory and certification board member, and has provided legislative testimony supporting the position of Curriculum Supervisor for the Arts (House Bill 25, 1991).
Her philosophy, that public awareness of the arts and arts education is crucial to its growth, culminated in annual community exhibitions of student work. Her belief that art educators should be producing art resulted in annual faculty exhibitions. Her expectation, that student work be submitted to statewide exhibits and competitions, cultivated administrative and parent awareness and participation.