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Known as “Chris” to her friends and colleagues in the Department of Art & Design, Christina Willey shared her passion for art, not only with hundreds of students who came through her classroom, but also thousands of people who saw her art in workshops and exhibitions. While she is proud to have been a teacher, she also takes great pride in having managed to have a life as an artist.
The professor emerita of art taught courses in illustration, figure construction, painting and graphic design after beginning work at UCM in 1989. Before joining the university faculty, she spent 13 years as a full-time illustrator, painter, and graphic designer, and won a number of awards. These included three Merit and one Bronze Award from the Kansas City Art Directors Club, a Merit Award from Communication Arts Illustration Annual 1987, and five Merit Awards from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.
Willey acquired signature status in the MidAmerica Pastel Society and the International Society of Acrylic Painters. Her work has been juried into eight international exhibitions, 24 national exhibitions, and 29 regional exhibitions. Her work also has been viewed in 16 invitational shows and 13 solo shows, and her art is held in a number of private and corporate collections in the U.S., the Netherlands, and France.
In addition to her professional duties as a professor and artist, Willey was involved in committee work dealing with curriculum, faculty searches, promotion and tenure, portfolio review and much more. She held a number of leadership positions as a committee chair.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Master of Fine Arts degree at Syracuse University in New York.