Art alumni win Wisconsin Alumni Association awards

Two alumni of the UW–Madison School of Education’s Art Department are being honored with awards from the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA).


Carlos Gacharná received his BFA from the Art Department in 2017. He is the recipient of WAA’s Forward Award, which acknowledges “rising stars” in fields that exemplify the Wisconsin Idea. The award prioritizes young alumni that have graduated in the last 15 years and demonstrated exceptional early-career achievement and a positive impact on their professions.

According to WAA, “Gacharná is a Youth Development Specialist at ArtworxLA. Since the start of 2020, he has taught over 1,000 predominantly Black and Brown students across 40-plus sites in Wisconsin and California. Many of these experiences were in nontraditional classroom environments such as youth shelters, detention facilities, museums, professional artists’ studios, and libraries.”

“Gacharná also runs an after-school art program for ArtworxLA that serves high school students in alternative-education programs in 39 classrooms throughout Los Angeles County. His work has been featured at Bascom Hall as an alum and was recently documented by the School of Education while facilitating a weeklong shoe-customizing residency at the Dane County Court Youth Shelter.”


Patricia Marroquin Norby is the recipient of the Luminary Award. Norby earned both her MA and MFA from the Art Department, graduating in 2001 and 2002 respectively. This award honors “alumni who serve as aspirational examples for others through their accomplishments in the areas of leadership, discovery, progress, and service.”

“Norby is the first curator of Indigenous arts appointed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the first full-time person of Indigenous descent hired for a curatorial position in the Met’s 150-year history,” the WAA writes. 

“Norby seeks to facilitate long-term relationships between Indigenous communities and the Met, focusing on what she terms ‘meaningful systemic change,’” the WAA adds, noting she was also “recently awarded the 2023 Distinguished Alumna of Art award from the School of Education.” 

The WAA Forward Award reception will be on Oct. 26, 2023, and the Luminary Award reception will be on a date to be announced the spring of 2024.

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