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Houk Award

Pamela Houk’s work in art education, her vision and ideals for the development of an interactive space within the art museum were brought to life in 1976 with the opening of The Lange Family Experiencenter. This gallery space for children and families is based on the concept that people learn more effectively and gain a better understanding of the creative process by being actively involved. As the originator and Curator of The Lange Family Experiencenter for 23 years, Pamela Houk’s contribution to advancing art education for all ages was outstanding. To recognize her achievement and contribution to art education the Pamela P. Houk Award for Excellence in Art Education was developed.

2015 Recipient: Curtis Barnes Sr.

2015 Houk Award Winner
Curtis Barnes' daughter, Danita (center),
accepted the Houk Award on her father's
behalf at The DAI's Annual Meeting on
February 12, 2015.

Curtis Barnes Sr. is the recipient of the 2015 Houk Award. Curtis dedicated his life to the arts and is a revered member of the Dayton arts community. His extensive and lifelong commitment to teaching and guiding aspiring young artists and youth, along with his commitment to providing the community opportunities to experience the transformative power of the arts, has effectively created, in the words of Dayton artist Bing Davis: “A small army of artists, art educators, art administrators, art collectors and advocates” in the Miami Valley.

Curtis began his career as an art educator with the Dayton Public Schools, teaching at Orville Wright Middle School and Meadowdale High School; during the same period he taught at the Living Arts Center, an afterschool arts program for talented students. He was the founder and member of Genesis III, the first African-American artist group in Dayton. Curtis left the Dayton Public Schools to teach at Sinclair Community College from 1977 to 1994 where he made significant contributions to the Art Department and was honored with the title Professor Emeritus in 1995.

Curtis is renowned for his ability to inspire and motivate students of all ages. When in the studio classroom, his eloquent and inspiring critiques impelled students to expand their notions of art, to make connections between life and art, and to absorb them-selves in an expansive creative process. Curtis’ gifted teaching engaged students in meaningful dialogues and built a core of self-confidence and technical skills. Throughout his teaching career, he actively created and exhibited his paintings in galleries in the Dayton region and in New York. In 2008 Curtis was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District.

Nomination Process

Individuals who have successfully developed, implemented and managed a
program that has contributed to the advancement of art education in
southwestern Ohio are eligible to be nominated for this award.
Individuals may self-nominate or be nominated by someone familiar with
their initiative. For more information about the Houk Award and the
nomination process, contact Diane Stemper, at 937-512-0148 or email 

Download the 2016 Nomination Form

The deadline for nominations for the 2016 Houk Award is December 1, 2015. The Houk Award winner is announced at The DAI's Annual Meeting in February each year.

Past Houk Award Winners

2014: Jennifer Farrington, Art Educator

2013: James Pate, Artist and Art Educator

2012: Jennifer Austin Jennings, Artist and Art Educator

2011: Langston Watras, Art Educator at Patterson-Kennedy PreK-8 School in Dayton

2010: Suzanne Mitolo, K-1 Teacher at Centerville Primary
Village South / Reggio Method

2009: Willis Bing Davis, Founder and President of Davis Art
Studio and EbonNia Gallery

2008: Jerri Stanard, Founder and Director of K-12 Gallery 

2007: John Polston, Retired Art Teacher and Department Chair, Sinclair
Community College

2006: Lizabeth Whipps, Coordinator of Arts Magnet Program at
Stivers School for the Arts

2005: Award was not presented

2004: Viriginia Burroughs, Art Educator, Dayton Public Schools

2003: John Virgint, Gifted Coordinator for Bradford Schools, Bradford, OH

2002: Tommy Rueff, Developer of Happen, Inc., Cincinnati

2001: Gladys Williams, Accessible Arts Coordinator, Wright State University

TUESDAY 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
WEDNESDAY 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
THURSDAY 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
FRIDAY 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SATURDAY 11 a.m. - 5 p.m
SUNDAY Noon - 5 p.m.
The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day.
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