Alexandria Museum of Art Educator Receives CLEDA Award

Nov 16, 2020, 07:50 AM
The Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce and CLEDA Award the 2020 CLEDA "We Make Good Good Stuff" Award to artist and Alexandria Museum of Art Educator Cindy Cooper Blair.
Artist and art educator Cindy Cooper Blair was awarded the 2020 CLEDA “We Make Good Stuff” Award at the 2020 Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce Bizzy Awards on Friday night. This prestigious award, aptly named “We Make Good Stuff”, is from a hashtag originated by CLEDA to differentiate Central Louisiana from other markets around the United States. CLEDA states “We are a region of makers: artists, designers, musicians, film makers, gardeners, farmers, entrepreneurs—manufacturers--all working to bring value to our region in a multitude of ways, all committed to making good stuff.”

Cindy Cooper Blair graduated from high school in Rayville and studied studio painting at Louisiana State University. She went on to earn a master’s degree in fine arts at the State University of New York at Albany. She earned a certificate from the Pratt Institute in advanced studio painting. After living and working in New York for a number of years, she returned to Louisiana. In 2012, she became artist-in-residence at the Alexandria Museum of Art and in 2013 became a full-time art educator at the Muse. There, she has managed several education programs, including Art2Go, The Muse: Teen Club, Saturday Family Art Classes, Meet Me at the Museum, and writes curriculum for Art Express and Journeys & Visions tours. Cindy has been integral to the museum’s success with Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) a teaching methodology that impacts visual literacy, problem solving, and observational skills among others. Cindy teaches this methodology to Rapides Parish School Teachers as well as LSUA professors.

During 2020, Cindy Blair has used social media to continue to fulfill her role as arts educator and to keep the Museum in the public eye. When the museum closed Cindy was instrumental to AMoA’s success quickly flipping programming to online engagement demonstrating a wide variety of art techniques and teaching herself the art of digital content creation along the way. From Cindy’s artist statement- “As a teaching artist, I’ve come to realize that, too often, the work artists do is reduced to something mystical that you either are born able to create or not. My goal is to demystify the artistic process and pull back the veil and show that art isn’t produced whole and beautiful but is the product of hard work and multiple steps that aren’t always pretty. When I am able, I show my work with process photos, and share my process openly on social media.”

In CLEDA’s Bizzy Award speech, Jim Clinton acknowledged the unique and daunting challenges of 2020. “But some people shine their brightest when things grow dark. Our honoree is one of those people. [Cindy] used the arts as a source of community therapy to help us all navigate the strangeness and disorientation of our time.”
It is no surprise that she is a source of light in a dark time. That light is also central to her own art, Cindy Blair Light Art. Originally inspired by lantern parades from around the world, in which light is a symbol of hope and perseverance, now her work is inspired by the relational connections formed between animals that speak to the human condition and the glorious shapes of beautifully designed objects. To view Cindy’s work and learn more, visit her Facebook page Cindy Blair Light Art.

To view Cindy’s award-winning digital art education and social media programming, visit Alexandria Museum of Art on Facebook, Tiktok, Youtube and Instagram as well as themuseum.org.