Alphonso W. Grant
The family of Alphonso W. Grant has partnered with the School of Art and the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences to create a memorial award in honor of the beloved Assistant Professor of Art Education and Affiliate Professor of African Studies and African-Americans, political sciences and gender studies.
Grant died in December 2020 after suffering a heart attack at his home in Fayetteville. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle, friend, scholar and educator who forever changed the lives of those he touched with his exceptional intellect, passion, leadership in diversity and the love he shared for his family, his friends, his colleagues, his students and his life.
“Alphonso was a wonderful colleague and person, as well as a passionate educator. He was a true advocate and dedicated mentor to so many of our students and his loss is still very much felt at our college and campus,” Todd said. Shields, Dean of Fulbright College. “We are honored to create a memorial award to continue his legacy and the incredible work he did to help create a new generation of art teachers.”
the Alphonso W. Grant Memorial Award in Arts Education will provide support to art school students who are studying arts education and wish to contribute to a diverse educational environment.
“While demographic diversity in Arkansas and the United States increases, there are still racial, ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic disparities in artist/teacher representation at all educational levels,” said Angela LaPorte, program director and arts education teacher. “This scholarship will continue the urgent work that our dear colleague, Alphonso, initiated at the University of Arkansas. It will support the diversity of artists/educators by removing the financial barrier and promoting more equitable student representation at the School of art.”
Grant had a proven commitment to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways of knowing and representing major issues and aspects of the world, grounded in diversity, equity, inclusion, and dismantling anti-blackness.
He was a valued scholar and contributor to many academic disciplines, using and contributing to theories of African Studies, Black Existentialism, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Race Theory, Curriculum Theory, Pragmatism , queer theory, the politics of racial identity, semiotics, brother on the low and visual culture studies.
Grant led a life of service and left a lasting impression on the students he mentored within the School of Art, on campus, and on black male athletes for the athletic departments’ iBelieve initiative of the U of A. Additionally, he served as a leader in the Office of the U of A Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and was active on the Diversity Committee at within the School of Art.
“Dr. Grant was a valued diversity leader across school, college and campus,” said Gerry Snyder, executive director of the School of Art. “He led by example. His position as a professor was a visionary imbued with an enthusiasm to mentor everyone he met to be better and to connect diversity, equity and inclusion in every aspect of our lives. .”
Grant’s research and work were respected and celebrated in his field. He was a WEB DuBois Scholar, he was selected as the recipient of the 2014-2015 Harold F. Martin Associate Higher Education Award and as the recipient of the 2016 Academic Excellence Award for the Presidents Commission on Lesbian, Gay, bisexuals and transgenders. and Queer Equity Group at Penn State.
“Continuing the critical work of Dr. Grant and embracing his spirit of tenacity and determination are priorities close to our hearts,” said Marty Maxwell Lane, Director of the School of Art and Associate Professor of Graphic Design. “We miss his friendship, his intelligence and his voice. He was an agent of change, and this award is designed to be an agent of change for students.”
Investing in the lives of students was an important part of Grant’s life. They felt his support and encouragement, and they accepted his challenge to dig deeper.
Many students refer to a common phrase he shared in class: “It takes everyone’s voice.”
“He instilled the confidence to own all aspects of ourselves and make our voices heard,” said former MFA student Trinity Kai. “He created a safe space for everyone and in his class you knew he saw you, he heard you, you matter and your experiences are valid.”
The Memorial Award serves to continue the investment Grant began with students and ensure that all voices are heard.
“Dr. Grant was a brilliant scholar, a talented educator, a generous mentor, and a kind and supportive friend,” said Christopher Schulte, deputy director of the School of Art and associate professor of arts education. “His presence remains in all that we do and aspire to achieve at the School of Art. He reminds us daily to take seriously the relationships we have in our lives and the extent to which we manage to keep room for others, especially those whose lives and experiences are different from ours.The Alphonso W. Grant Memorial Award in Art Education intimately embodies this commitment.
the Alphonso W. Grant Memorial Award in Arts Education will become fully endowed when it reaches a minimum of $25,000 in contributions, meaning the award can provide support in perpetuity.
Donations to support the endowment of theAlphonso W. Grant Memorial Award in Arts Educationcan be done byvisit the fund online. U of A employees are also eligible to donate to the fund through payroll deductions.
Checks can also be made payable to The University of Arkansas Foundation, with the name of the award listed in the memo and mailed to: University of Arkansas, Attn: Gift Services, 1002 W. Maple St., Fayetteville, AR 72701.
For more information on stock donations, payroll deductions, or an employee matching program, please contact Melody Kouchehbagh at [email protected]