A Clayton Heights Secondary teacher has been recognized with a provincial award.
Visual arts teacher Dennis Memmott was awarded the British Columbia Art Educator Award by the National Art Education Association. The NAEA is a professional membership organization for visual arts teachers.
Memmott was given the honour “in recognition of his creative and thought-provoking work with youth in the arts,” according to a press release.
Memmott said the award is special to him because it was granted by his fellow art teachers.
“It’s kind of an affirmation that the career shift that I made – from doing youth work to combining my passion for art and my passion to see youth succeed – it makes me go, ‘I made the right decision.’ I think I have the best job in the world.”
Memmott said, growing up, art was always his thing.
“I never took art in high school,” he said. “I just did art on the side.” That side included photography through skateboarding and snowboarding.
Memmott teaches five photography courses and likes to push the digital image envelope through solargraphy (long exposures with homemade pinhole cameras) and glitch art (digital manipulation of an image’s code).
“I play around with anything I can make an image with,” Memmott added.
Memmott said he challenges his students to push that envelope too.
“So many techniques in photography came out of accidents and experiments,” he said. “So that’s the kind of mindset I try to get them in – sometimes your accidents are better than what you meant to do.”
Memmott started teaching in Surrey in 2006, first at Princess Margaret Secondary before moving to Clayton Heights.
Memmott will receive the award at the NAEA National Convention in Minneapolis at the end of March.