Brian Payne was nominated by Kim Payne, a family member.
Anyone who has ever met Mr. Payne knows he has been changing lives one way or another his entire life. His work ethic, selfless nature, determination to make a difference, and desire to experience life beyond the comfort and familiarity of the small university town where he grew up is a testament of his ability to impact others in a positive way.
As an art educator, he has a passion for teaching art and its importance in history and culture, as well as helping students hone their techniques while allowing them to freely express themselves. This is further proof of his dedication and understanding of the emotional needs of his secondary school students.
Currently, Mr. Payne teaches Art I and Art III, as well as AP Art History. When schedules demand, he teaches Art II, Art IV, AP Studio Art, Art Internship I, and Ceramics. He developed the latter three classes along with AP Art History at Yukon High School, where he has taught for the past 10 years.
Mr. Payne also serves as head of the visual arts department and is the National Art Honor Society sponsor at Yukon High School. He is an executive board member of the Oklahoma Arts Council and a member of the National Art Education Association. Additionally, for the past three years, he has spent the beginning of each summer traveling to Utah to help score high school AP art history final exams.
Several years ago, he created an end-of-the-year "art extravaganza" to showcase students' artwork. Not only do students gain skills by helping with the massive evening event, but they gain confidence showing their art in public, retaining 100% of the proceeds of any art they sell. The extravaganza continues to grow each year, with guest art educators from local universities as well as local artists serving as judges and awarding best-of-show winners.
Mr. Payne's commitments and accomplishments include serving on the 2013 committee to rewrite the Oklahoma Academic Visual Art Standards for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. He was chosen as the 2014 Yukon High School Teacher of the Year, is a recipient of the 2014 Oklahoma Superintendent's Awards for Arts Excellence, is the 2015 Oklahoma Secondary Art Educator of the Year. In 2018, he was one of only three art educators nationwide to be accepted into the prestigious Golden Art Residency Program in New York, sponsored by the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation, Golden Artist Colors, and Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program. Educators are eligible to apply for the competitive residency program based upon their own artwork and certain art achievements of their students. The two-week residency is designed to advance the skills of its educator-participants.
Mr. Payne's essay, "The Chicago Experience: Transforming Identity" was published in the anthology, A Journey to Learn and Unlearn in Multicultural Education (2009). He was also published in the Journal of Art Education (2010). His article brought awareness to discriminating speech often used by secondary school students at the time, which has declined as students become more enlightened and tolerant of gender and intellectual diversity.
Mr. Payne continues to mentor and encourage his students to enter art and scholarship programs. Several of his students have won prestigious awards and had their artwork featured at the state and national levels. He continues to model the importance of practice and perseverance for his students by continuing to hone his own craft. He has had his artwork exhibited in studios in Oklahoma City and New York City, and he also creates commissioned pieces.
Mr. Payne received his BFA with an emphasis in photography from Loyola University in Chicago, where he also tutored inner-city middle school students in math and reading. He returned to the town where he grew up, giving back to his community by coaching little league baseball while working toward his M.Ed from Oklahoma State University. He completed his internship at Lakenheath Air Force Base in England in both elementary and secondary art. While abroad, he traveled to numerous museums, birthplaces, and gravestones of some of the most important and influential artists in history.
This is a part of the passion and lessons he passes along to his students: be respectful, be tolerant, be open to others' ideas, and go out and see the world through different lenses.