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Lawrence educator wins Governor's Arts Award

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A Lawrence educator is among those who will be honored this summer with a Governor's Arts Award, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius announced this morning.Lanell Finneran, who uses the arts to teach special education students with Lawrence Public Schools, was one of six recipients. She's pictured above with her therapy dog.The other winners are the city of Salina (arts community), James Rivers of Topeka (artist), Ann and Dennis Ross of Wichita (arts patrons), Kathrine Walker Schlageck of Manhattan (arts education) and Dora Mae Timmerman of Wichita (arts advocate). In addition, Chuck Comeau of Plainville is being given the Distinguished Arts Award for his work in furniture and textile design.Below is the press release's bio on Finneran. You can read more about her in Eileen Roddy's Slice of Life column in Go! next Monday, the 23rd.For over 30 years, Lanell Finneran has brought the arts into Kansas classrooms for severely emotionally-disturbed special education students as a teacher and certified drama therapist. Infusing all the arts as therapeutic and teaching tools, she has sought and received numerous grants to support her efforts, Projects with her students include creating digital animated movies, creating theatrical productions on bullying for elementary school children, and writing and producing plays. Ms. Finneran has authored or co-authored numerous national publications on the use of art in education and therapeutic classrooms and is in great demand as a trainer by schools, universities, state programs and non-profit mental health organization. She contributes her efforts locally and statewide to Van Go Mobile Arts, Accessible Arts of Kansas City, the Kansas Art Therapy Association, KU Medical Center School of Nursing, KU School of Social Work, the Washburn School of Social Work, the Kansas Counselor’s Association, The Attorney General’s Office – Summit on Violence Prevention and the Kansas Council for Exceptional Children. Ms. Finneran serves on the National Board of Directors for the National Association for Drama Therapy.

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