Committee on Multiethnic Concerns (COMC) Interest Group Column: Feb/Mar 2022

NAEA News Feb/Mar 2022

The columns for this issue of NAEA News were written prior to the 2022 National Convention. As such, you may find information about Convention sessions and references to past occurrences in the future tense.

Race & Ethnicity: Unlocking Excellence We Are Golden Together, COMC’s 50th anniversary celebration, continues as we celebrate the pioneers through a series of webinars. As we prepare for the 2022 National Convention, I must take a moment to highlight those trailblazers who through their work uphold the foundational principles of COMC. In the November Webinar Series session, “The Future Is Now: Imagining the ‘As Yet’” (November 18, 2021), several fresh voices made bold statements regarding what futures they envision for the field of art education, the role of professional organizations and special interest groups in working toward these futures, and how to sustain ourselves as art educators of color in the face of continued marginalization in and outside of our field.

Flavia Zuñiga-West is an art educator and the founder of Adding Voices. Adding Voices creates conferences and workshops that are committed to equity, social justice, and inclusion in teaching, learning, and building community for art educators who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, or part of the Global Majority. Stephen C. Newbold, Jr., a PhD student in the Department of Art Education at Florida State University, focuses on the intersectionality of his identity as an African American male, student, educator, and visual artist, and how that fuels a pedagogical praxis of art for social justice. “The Black Male Educator’s Experience: Resilience, Retention and Recruitment” is at the forefront of his research interests. Ketal Patel is an art educator and scholar examining the practices and role of educators within the arts and culture ecosystem. She has had the opportunity to apply her art educator lens to the broader educational dialogue happening within rural schools, the Lakota Nation, urban settings, and private schools. Fatemah Khawaji is an art teacher at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, and a PhD candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has taught nationally and internationally, mostly at the college level and in community programs. Elizabeth Denneau, an artist and art educator residing in the Sonoran Southwest, teaches contemporary art and culture at Marana High School in Tucson, Arizona, and works with local community organizers and colleges to develop practical models of social justice in art education.

“Promises of a Living Archive,” another virtual webinar event, occurred on December 9, 2021. Moderator K. Lynn Robinson, PhD student in art and visual culture education at The University of Arizona, hosted conversations with panelists Hazel L. Bradshaw-Beaumont Young, professor of art education at Delaware State University; Rodriguez Suero, lecturer in the School of Art and Design at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Ami Kantawala, adjunct associate professor in art and art education at Teachers College, Columbia University; and Amber C. Coleman, PhD candidate in art and visual culture education at The University of Arizona. For this event, panelists pondered the following questions: (1) Minoritized preservation strategies have always been subversive or alternative. How do we contend with the hypervisibility of race in cyberspace while also embracing the potential of digital archiving and social presence? (2) In your research and practice, how might your understandings set the stage for not only archival preservation but also storytelling and the all-too-common resistance of erasure? and (3) How might a COMC archive parallel or leverage NAEA and other art education organizations and grow within them and out? How do we continuously add or build? Organizationally, we must continue work to promote, strengthen, and encourage the role of the visual arts education while promote a greater understanding of cultural diversity within our society. At this point in time, when we are facing such intense societal issues, the need is so great for COMC members to continue to bring forth diverse issues and develop strategies that will strengthen our society. Iconic members like Grace Hampton and J. Eugene Grigsby, along with other pioneers, understood this need and worked tirelessly to set the groundwork for the diversity that we are facing in our current society.

I am so excited to see our younger membership accepting the challenge to continue this work by developing innovative strategies that reach diverse audiences. Stay tuned to COMC’s website for information about upcoming opportunities to support COMC. We look forward to connecting with you and local community art programs throughout the year and to welcoming new members.

Column by:
Zerric Clinton

Gloria J. Wilson
COMC Chair. Professor, Department of Art, Delaware State University, Dover. Email:

Hazel L. Bradshaw-Beaumont Young
COMC Past Chair. Assistant Professor, Art and Visual Culture Education, University of Arizona. Email:

Zerric Clinton
COMC Columnist. Visual Arts Educator, McDonough, GA. Email:

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