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Tompkins Awarded Art Educator of the Year in Higher Education

The Arkansas Art Educators Association has recognized Andrea “AnDI” Tompkins, art outreach specialist for UA Little Rock, the Higher Education Art Educator of the Year.

Tompkins expressed his happiness, amazement, and immense satisfaction at earning the award from the Arkansas Art Educators Association. “It was a pleasant surprise because I’ve never received an award like this.”

On November 2 in North Little Rock, during the Arkansas Art Educators Fall Professional Development Conference, Tompkins was presented with the honor.

Tompkins claimed that “for as long as she can remember,” she has liked art. Long before she ever took an art class, her father—a mechanical draftsman—taught her how to draw forms, three-dimensional figures, and linear perspectives. She was the first student from her high school to enroll in the visual arts program at the Arkansas Governor’s School.

Tompkins went on to study art history at UA Little Rock, finish his bachelor’s degree in art at Hendrix College, and graduate from Northwest Missouri State University with a master’s degree in education with a focus on educational leadership.

When Tompkins was appointed manager of the Museum School at the Arkansas Arts Center, which is now the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, in 2007, she made the switch from gifted and talented education to arts administration, drawing on more than 20 years of experience working in specialized residential high schools and collegiate programs in Arkansas and Missouri.

Tompkins became the first art outreach specialist for the School of Art and Design at UA Little Rock in 2019. She calls her position “the best job ever.” Her responsibilities include community development, teaching a first-year experience class for art majors, recruiting and keeping art majors, and organizing exciting and engaging programs for high school students and art educators.

She is especially appreciative of the Windgate Foundation, whose kind donations enable her to pursue her passion for research.

“Life depends on the arts,” Tompkins declared. “This is my sixth year at UA Little Rock, and I can’t say enough good things about it. I consider myself lucky to work in the arts and have the opportunity to impact college and high school students as well as art educators from all throughout the state.

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