Dr. Alphonso W. Grant
Dr. Alphonso W. Grant, Endowed Assistant Professor of Art Education and Affiliate Faculty in African and African American Studies, Politial Science, and Gender Studies, passed away due to a heart attack in his home in Fayetteville, Sunday, December 6, 2020.
He was a beloved son, brother, uncle, friend, scholar and educator, who has forever changed the lives of those he touched with his exceptional intellect, passion, leadership in diversity and love he shared for family, friends, colleagues, students and life.
Dr. Grant joined the School of Art in 2017 as a visiting assistant professor of art education and was recently promoted to endowed assistant professor of art education. Upon arrival to the University of Arkansas, he immediately became a sought-after mentor for students and peers, a cherished professor and a valued colleague.
He had a proven commitment to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways of knowing and representing key issues and aspects of the world, grounded in diversity, equity, inclusion and dismantling anti-Blackness.
He was a scholar and valued contributor to many academic disciplines, both utilizing and contributing to theories of Africana studies, Black existentialism, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, curriculum theory, pragmatism, queer theory, racial identity politics, semiotics, the brother on the down low and visual culture studies. His perspectives and scholarship in art education were critical to the destabilization of Eurocentric and heteronormative discourses in the field of art education.
Dr. Grant led a life of service and made a lifelong impression on the students he mentored within the School of Art, across campus, and for the Black male athletes for the University of Arkansas' Athletic Departments' iBelieve Initiative.
"Dr. Grant never stopped searching for ways he could further his own education and bring what he learned to his students, faculty and peers, as well as using his learnings to spur national and international conversations with tenacity," said Gerry Snyder, executive director of the School of Art. "Alphonso Grant epitomizes the faculty we seek to shape a new generation of artists and educators. With each step we take into our future we will honor his legacy and continue the important work he dedicated his life to do."
Dr. Grant is survived by his mother, Rachel Logan Grant; sister, Vivian Grant; aunts, Sybil Buford, Eloise Natt and Mildred Summerville; cousins, Joel Middleton, Wanice Buford, Tequira Natt and Kendrick Summerville; nephews and nieces, Logan Grant, Christopher Grant, Jonha Grant, Leah Grant and Cierra Hall.
The Alphonso Grant Memorial Award has been established at the School of Art, University of Arkansas. If you are interested in donating please visit the University of Arkansas online giving website.
Peven was born and raised in Chicago where he attended the University of Illinois, Chicago, for a B.A. in design and later, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for an M.F.A. in photography and artist's books.
He was active as a photographer, book maker and installation artist since the 1970s and began teaching at the U of A in 1977, where, with few resources and a lot of energy, he built a photography program.
During his time with the university, Peven won countless teaching awards, and in 2014 was named the Honored Educator of the Year by the Society for Photographic Education, in addition to receiving annual Outstanding Mentor Awards for his mentorship of students. He also won awards from the Arkansas Arts Council; the Mid-America Arts Alliance/National Endowments of the Arts; Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences; and the University of Arkansas Teaching Academy.
"Mike's service to the university, Fulbright College and former Department of Art, now School of Art, is dearly missed," said Jeannie Hulen, associated dean of Fulbright College and associate professor of studio art, ceramics. "We have a lot to thank him for and celebrate his life and incredible contributions. Our sincere condolences go out to all that knew and loved him."
Memorial contributions can be made to the Michael Peven Scholarship for Students of Photography at the U of A. Checks should be made payable to the University of Arkansas Foundation with Peven Scholarship in the memo line, and sent to 525 Old Main, 1 University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.