Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

School of Art + Design Professor Wins Illustrious Education Award from Smithsonian Gallery Group

Associate Professor in Jewelry and Metalsmithing Sondra Sherman is the third faculty member from the School of Art + Design to receive this important award.

School of Art + Design Professor Wins Illustrious Education Award from Smithsonian Gallery Group

by Mara Parker

December 2, 2019

Sondra Sherman, associate professor of Jewelry and Metalsmithing at SDSU School of Art + Design, has been selected to receive the Distinguished Craft Educator Award for 2020 by the prestigious James Renwick Alliance (JRA), an independent national nonprofit organization that celebrates the achievements of America’s craft artists and fosters scholarship, education and public appreciation of craft art. Founded in 1982, the Alliance is the exclusive support group of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation’s showcase of contemporary American craft.

The Distinguished Craft Educator Award is bestowed biannually to educators in the field of American Craft who are seen to have a major influence on future artists in an educational program and whose career marks a significant contribution to education and formation in the craft field.

“I am honored to be recognized and grateful to the James Renwick Alliance for their exceptional efforts promoting the advancement of American Craft,” said Sherman. “It is a privilege to teach in the renowned Jewelry and Metalsmithing program at San Diego State University and to join esteemed colleagues as a JRA distinguished educator award recipient.”

Professor Sherman’s name was placed in nomination by the James Renwick Alliance membership and then selected by a panel of esteemed craft experts, artists, researchers, and educators from across the country.

This is not the first time an SDSU faculty member has been selected for this important award. Former JRA Distinguished Craft Educator Award winners include faculty emeriti Wendy Maruyama (Furniture and Woodworking) and Arline Fisch (Jewelry and Metalsmithing).

Prior to Professor Sherman’s time at SDSU School of Art + Design, she taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, SUNY- New Paltz, and Rhode Island College. Sherman’s work has been published and exhibited all over Europe and the US. She has been the recipient of various other prestigious awards including those from the Tiffany Foundation, Rhode Island Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and a Fulbright Scholarship.

Sherman received her Diploma Degree (MFA equivalent) from the Academy of Fine Art, Munich, Germany. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Museum of Art and Design – New York, Smithsonian American Art Museum D.C.

The James Renwick Alliance’s Distinguished Educator Award will be presented to Sherman as part of the Alliance’s Spring Craft Weekend, April 24-26, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about Professor Sherman’s work, visit

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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