Monday, December 9, 2013

Nesser-Chu Wins Prestigious Award For 2013

By Travonte Harris

2013 was an important year for Florissant Valley's Professor Janice Nesser- Chu, whose art has been exhibited nationally and internationally for the past 20 years.  Nesser-Chu has been awarded the prestigious 2013 President’s Arts and Activism award.  It’s a confirmation of talents for a woman like Nesser-Chu who is constantly working, whether she is serving as the chair of Florissant Valley’s arts program or as the the campaign director of the St. Louis Chapter of the National Women's Caucus for the Arts - or even teaching here at STLCC-FV.  

Nesser-Chu attended a small four-year Catholic college in rural Indiana called St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. It was here that Nesser-Chu published some of her poetry and became editor of the newspaper. She participated in social and political action, from the Equal Rights Amendment to anti-nuclear movements. 

Nesser- Chu believes that college had a lot to do with her success.  She explains that with class sizes small and expectations high, “you never came to class unprepared.”  Nesser-Chu further explains that she learned from Jesus and the sisters of Providence to be strong, and that the lessons taught during college have led to her success.  

She believes that community work and mentorship of young women, both on a local and national level,  have helped prepare her for her current situation. Nesser-Chu takes great pride in teaching the arts, saying that she does “not measure accomplishment by the big moments, but by the small ones.” 

Nesser-Chu does take some pride in things like the New Faculty of the Year Award, or the Emerson Award, but she firmly believes that seeing her students succeed is her greatest accomplishment in teaching of the arts. This arts professor seeks to use her teaching as a vehicle to open doors for her students and to allow them to see art and the world as a whole in a different light. In her spare time, Nesser-Chu likes to make art or work in her three-acre garden. She also likes to mentor and teach as well as be active in planning art events and activities.  

Nesser Chu appreciates awards, but she does not take any obvious pride in them. What drives her is the difference she makes in the world through her art, teaching, and activism - and that is what makes her feel accomplished. 

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