PORTALES, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – According to an announcement from Eastern New Mexico State University, a staff member was awarded the 2022 New Mexico Higher Education Art Educator of the Year by the New Mexico Art Educators Association.

ENMU officials detailed that Bryan Hahn, ENMU Runnels Gallery Manager/Curator and Coordinator of Creative Services, was recognized for his achievements in the art education community and in the classroom via the NMAEA Professional Awards Program.

Hahn has directed the ENMU Runnels Gallery for more than a decade, according to university officials. The gallery, located in the Golden Student Success Center on campus, is free and open to the public and features artwork from ENMU students, faculty and staff, alumni, and notable guest artists.

“One of the most meaningful opportunities I have had working in the gallery is to witness the journey of self and creative discovery,” said Hahn. “When speaking with students (particularly non-art majors) I often hear them say, ‘I’m not an artist. I’m not creative, I can’t….’ when speaking about themselves. For me, it has been important to challenge that self-defeating perspective and encourage students to explore their own creative modes of expression. That is most exciting, seeing students discover, connect, embrace and run with their creativity.”

Further, Hahn was reported to have been a part-time instructor and contributing artist in the ENMU College of Fine Arts since 2008. Richard Schwartz, Chair for the Department of Art at ENMU cited the award as a result of Hahn’s love and dedication for the Runnels Gallery and its outreach programs.

“The students, staff and faculty of ENMU’s Department of Art are incredibly proud of Mr. Hahn’s significant achievement,” said Schwartz.

“Bryan is an incredible leader for students interested in museums and art education. He is an individual who leverages real-life experience and connections to teach the students he works with,” said Tatyana Scott, ENMU alumna and internship coordinator at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. “It was with him that I first experienced curating an experimental exhibit in a physical space. He is exceptionally talented at using out-of-the-box thinking to engage both students and visitors to the university.”