Joy Williams, North High school art teacher

North High teacher earns another honor

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North Fort Myers Neighbor | by Chuck Ballaro | November 4, 2002

The honors keep coming for an arts teacher at North Fort Myers High School.

Joy Williams was one of 13 winners of the Florida Art Education Association 2020 Member Virtual Exhibition. Her piece, Black Love Matters, a Raku ceramic sculpture, won the AMACO/brent Award. The work was judged the best in the state in the ceramic category.

In a year that has been so unpleasant for so many, Williams said artistically it has been a great year.

“Everybody else is hating 2020, but it has been a year where I have been able to do some of my own work instead of working with the students all the time,” Williams said. “It’s a creative time and it gives you the opportunity to make things when you have the opportunity.”

The piece features two people hugging each other. Williams said he work was timely in light of everything happening in the world right now. It was inspired after the events involving George Floyd, a black man who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis trying to restrain him in May.

“It wasn’t about hate, it was about love and I think because it’s people hugging that so many people are craving that human touch right now,” Williams said.

In Raku, a clay ceramic is fired in a kiln before being glazed and put in a burning fire before spraying it with water. Where all the cracks go the water goes inside the cracks, giving it a special look, Williams said, adding that the technique cannot be done at school, since it involves propane and fires.

“I was pleased with it, but obviously a jury of my superiors also found it to be the best,” Williams said. “Mr. Maldonado is the clay god of North Fort Myers High School, but I’m just one of four teachers here. I hope it shows what we have to offer students here.”

This was the second prestigious honor Williams has received this year. In May, Williams earned a residency at the prestigious Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, along with five other art educators in the state as a way to nourish the artist in the educator.

FAEA will celebrate Williams and its other artists during the virtual awards ceremony of FAEA’s 2020 Virtual Professional Development Conference on Sunday, Nov. 8.