Bonnie Bernau is currently an adjunct professor in the Art Education Area of the UF College of the Arts. Course(s): ARE 4243, Teaching Art: The Study of Practice.
In March 2023, Bernau was honored by the City of Gainesville, Division of Parks and Recreation with the 2022 Lennie Kesl Lifetime Award for her commitment to arts and art education by Mayor Harvey Ward.
Bonnie retired in 2014 as Education Curator of Community Programs at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville. She joined the staff of the Harn in August 2001, serving for 10 years as Director of Education, following two years as Visiting Assistant Professor in Art Education at UF.
During her 12 year tenure at the Harn Museum, Bernau was Principal Investigator for two National Endowment for the Arts grants: “Art for Life” and “PACE Center for Girls”, she developed collection-based curriculum resource units for K-12 educators, conducted Summer Teacher Institutes and mentored over 30 interns, several who have gone on to careers in museums. Bonnie authored the chapter on the Education Department history for the Harn Museum"s 20th Anniversary publication.
Along with 20 years as a K- 9 public school art educator, district leader, intern supervisor and curriculum developer, for three years Bernau conducted Discipline-Based Art Education teacher training for the Florida Institute for Art Education (FIAE) throughout Florida and was a national consultant and reviewer for the J. Paul Getty Center for Education in the Arts. She previously was adjunct professor at the University of West Florida and Troy State University. Bonnie was a Very Special Arts (VSA) National Program Manager in Washington, DC from 1995-1999 and taught Kdg. - 9th grade public school art from 1973-1991. Several of her former interns have continued on as art educators of distinction.
Bernau was selected "Teacher of the Year" by her peers at Sealey Elementary in Tallahassee in 1986 and in 1996 she received the Florida Art Education Association (FAEA) "Friend of Art Education" award for contribution to the field for the Getty grant project. She was honored by FAEA as “Florida Museum Educator of the Year” in 2004, was selected by FAEA as “Florida Art Educator of the Year” in 2005, and was given the 2019 "Retired Art Educator of Florida" distinction for her continued local and state level activities in support of Arts Education. For the National Art Education Association, Bonnie served on a 2009 task force to redesign the national standards for art teacher preparation.
As part of the Arts Education Partnership's Task Force on Early Learning, Bernau contributed to the 1998 national report, "Young Children and the Arts: Birth to Age Eight". Bonnie's art, reflecting her breast cancer journey, was displayed in the 1998 Corcoran School of Art Exhibit, "Triumph of the Spirit". She was a writer on VSA’s “Express Diversity” curriculum resource and managed the national resource, "Start With the Arts". She is proud of her work on Project CARE: Correlating Art and Reading Essentials, an interdisciplinary curriculum for early childhood education.
Bonnie served on the Florida Arts Alliance/Arts for a Complete Education (ACE) as Board Member in 2003-04 and on the Education Committee, 2005-06. She also was an Arts in Education Grant Review Panelist in 2004 and 2006 for the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs. During her service on FAEA Board, she coordinated statewide Summer Teacher Institutes in 2001-2003, and served as Higher Education Division Director in 2000-2001.
Bernau has made numerous state and national conference presentations to the Florida Association of Museums, Florida Art Education Association, Florida Alliance for Arts Education, National Art Education Association, VSArts, National Association of Educators of Young Children, and National Head Start Association.
Frequently she is invited to conduct in-service workshops in Florida school districts, including early childhood professionals, locally for the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County and Duval Elementary in Gainesville. For five summers, Bonnie presented sessions on arts integration at the UF Center for African Studies Summer Teacher Institutes.
Bernau is currently a board member of Alachua County’s “Friends of Elementary Arts” and is active with the FAEA Retirees Division. Bonnie holds both BS and MS degrees in Art Education from Florida State University and has completed all doctoral coursework in Art Ed at FSU. Her Master’s Thesis and Doctoral research focused on Visual Art as the Core of Interdisciplinary Instruction in Middle School. Visiting museums is her favorite leisure activity, along with enjoying the outdoors by gardening, kayaking and bird watching. She loves her two cats, SAM and Belle, who are instructing her on the joy of naps.