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Art professor recognized for teaching with statewide award

August 7th, 2018

Rachel Epp Buller leads a class in Berlin on string patterns.

The largest organization of art educators in the state of Kansas has recognized Rachel Epp Buller, Ph.D., Bethel College associate professor of visual art and design, with one of its highest awards.

The Kansas Art Education Association (KAEA) named Epp Buller its Outstanding Art Educator-Higher Education for 2018-19.

Kathy Schroeder, who has served as adjunct art faculty at Bethel, including during the spring 2018 semester while Epp Buller was on sabbatical, nominated Epp Buller for the award.

“Rachel is extensively involved in the art and art education communities globally, regionally and locally,” Schroeder said in her nomination. Epp Buller will receive the award at the KAEA fall conference in October.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized by colleagues in the field like this,” Epp Buller said, “since they’re the ones who know firsthand the labor that goes into teaching. And teachers also know how much we can accomplish with and for our students when we work together, so I am very grateful for their support.”

Epp Buller has a B.A. from Bethel (with a triple major, in art, history and German) and went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the University of Kansas.

While completing her graduate degrees, Epp Buller secured three different fellowships, including serving as a graduate fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her Ph.D. dissertation was on the work of three women artists and political activists in Weimar (post-World War I) Germany.

Epp Buller received a Fulbright Fellowship in 2011 or further study on one of the artists, Alice Lex, which she conducted mostly in Berlin.

That research culminated in the first-ever retrospective of Lex’s work in April 2016 at Das Verborgene Museum in Berlin and in the publication of Epp Buller’s book Alice Lex-Nerlinger: Fotomonteurin und Malerin/Photomontage Artist and Painter (Lukas Verlag, 2016).

Her other books include Reconciling Art and Mothering (as editor; Ashgate, 2012) and Mothering Mennonite (as co-editor; Demeter, 2013).

Epp Buller is known at Bethel for her successful grant-writing – most recently, a proposal for a Mary McMullan Grant from the National Art Education Foundation that enabled her to put together (and in particular, secure guest artists for) a new class she taught for the first time in spring 2017, Activism, Art and Design.

She is currently completing a low-residency MFA program in creative practice through the Transart Institute of Plymouth, England.

Epp Buller works most frequently herself in printmaking and book art, and regularly teaches courses in both, in addition to painting, drawing, art history, introduction to design and advanced studio, as well as serving as a Liberal Education Adviser for the freshman course First-Year Seminar.

Epp Buller manages Bethel’s Regier Art Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center, and will be showing her own recent work in an exhibition this fall, “Listening Across Time,” that opens Oct. 4.

She received Bethel’s Ralph P. Schrag Distinguished Teaching Award, given at commencement to recognize outstanding contributions to teaching, in 2017. The award is based largely on peer recommendations and student evaluations.

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