Distinguished Service Award Recognition


2017-2018 Distinguished Service Outside the Profession Award Winner

West Des Moines, IA — The Art Educators of Iowa is pleased to announce Mary E. Young Bear of the Meskwaki Tribal Museum, Tama Iowa is our award winner for 2017-2018 Distinguished Service Outside the Profession Award Winner. This prestigious award, determined through a peer review of nominations, recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions in previous years to the field of art education at the elementary level.  The award will be presented at the AEI Conference to be held October 6 & 7 in West Des Moines, IA.

Mary E. Young Bear is an active art education supporter, an invaluable mentor and an amazing artist.  Mary was an integral part of the Art Educators of Iowa 2014 Fall Conference hosted in part by the Meskwaki Settlement School.  She was instrumental in securing local artists to speak and perform through the conference.  In addition, she conducted a presentation on beadwork and answered inquiries about the culture.  She provided context to the work and strived to help art teachers understand appropriate ways to include Native American culture in their classrooms.

Mary is always willing to step into the classroom and workswith high school students in the art room and family consumer classes.  She demonstrates the intricacies of beadwork, printmaking techniques and shares artifacts and history from the Meskwaki Tribal Museum.  As a community leader she works with students of all ages from elementary through adult.

Julie K. Bousum nominated Mary for this award.  “She has served as an active school board member and is currently using her leadership skills as a school board chairperson. She mentors many art teachers and community members, including myself.   In addition to her work at the Meskwaki Tribal Museum, she is an amazing artist. She is always willing to demonstrate and share her experiences at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and has recently completed a two week artist-in-residence at the Denver Art Museum.

Mary E. Young Bear is a valued member of the Meskwaki Community.  She works for the benefit of its members and is dedicated to preserving and expanding the arts, especially for its youngest members.  Mary is generous with her time and talents in sharing information about the Meskwaki culture with educators outside the tribe and is truly a worthy recipient of the Distinguished Service Outside the Profession award.”

Upon receipt of her award, Mary responded, “To be recognized by AEI award committee is a very unexpected honor, and one I would like to accept on behalf of the Meskwaki Nation.  My position at the Meskwaki Cultural Center and Museum allows me to share our culture not only with the youth within our community, but the larger community that surrounds our home.  It is my hope this sharing creates a deeper appreciation of the Meskwaki history and culture.  Thank you!”

AEI is the professional association for art educators across the state of Iowa and is affiliated with the National Art Education Association (NAEA).  Members include elementary, secondary, middle level and high school art teachers; university and college professors; education directors who oversee education in our nation’s fine art museums, administrators and supervisors who oversee art education in school districts, state departments of education, arts councils; and teaching artists throughout the United States and many foreign countries.

For more information about AEI/NAEA and our awards program visit the AEI website at


Contact Information:

Shanise Brockshus Art Educators of Iowa Past President / Awards Chair

pastpresident@artedia.org  (712) 330-3204