Remembering Dr. Joel Baxley, October 9, 1969 – December 8, 2020

“It is not enough to see, we have to look.”
Dr. Joel Baxley

From Laurie Allen, Andrew O’Brien, and loving colleagues and friends of Dr. Baxley –

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of our dear colleague, Dr. Joel Baxley. Joel taught us all so much during his over 18 years of service at UTC as the Director of Visual Art Education for the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA).

An arts education advocate and leader.

At SCEA, Joel will be remembered for his dedication in ensuring all K-12 students have access to visual art programs at their school. Joel’s work focused on facilitating professional development to teachers across the U.S. and he leaves behind a wealth of invaluable curricular resources he developed that focused on integrating visual art in K-12 content areas.

He will be remembered for his joyful spirit that always encouraged us to embrace creative risks. We will miss seeing him in classrooms across the community and also in his office surrounded by art supplies, projects in progress, and tabbed books. We will always cherish his open door and willingness to brainstorm endless possibilities.

His last arts-integrated classroom residency occurred at Red Bank Elementary before all schools migrated online in the spring due to the pandemic. The 5th-grade residency, Seeing a Story, explored Holocaust survivor stories through painting moments of emphasis. We invite you to spend a moment with him and witness his impact by watching a video of his last residency by clicking here.

A passionate mentor of future art educators.

In the Art Department, Joel will be remembered for his passion for teaching and his dedication to training and mentoring students in Art Education. He was a vital link between studio art, education, and the wider arts community in the Tennessee Valley region. Indeed, we have Joel to thank for many of the students that come (and will continue to come) to UTC Art, as they were taught and inspired by the very teachers Joel trained and mentored while here at UTC. His enthusiasm for the field of visual art has been instrumental in creating a thriving ecosystem of arts organizations and arts education in and around Chattanooga. He was a kind and thoughtful colleague, and his students and the entire Art faculty will miss him dearly.

Joel inspired us to always take a closer look in all that we see. His impact will always be remembered through the countless art educators and students he supported through his work.

Additional information regarding Dr. Joel Baxley and how you can honor him can be found by clicking here.