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Lancaster High School Art Teacher Honored with Leading Where You Are Award

Lancaster High School Art Teacher Honored with Leading Where You Are Award

Mrs. MarianiLancaster Central School District’s amazing faculty bring their talents to the classroom and the community. Now one of Lancaster High School’s art teachers is being honored by the Arts Initiative Services of Buffalo and Western New York for her commitment to the arts.

Nancy Clarke Mariani is a recipient of the Leading Where You Are Award as part of AIS’s eighth annual Spark Awards presented by M&T Bank.

Mrs. Mariani has taught art at Lancaster High School for the past 31 years. She is also an exhibiting member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America since 2012, a founding member of the Pastel Society of WNY, President of the Fine Arts League of Buffalo, and Broad President of the Lancaster Opera House.

ASI’s annual Spark Awards celebrate and honor outstanding individuals and organizations from across Western New York for their dedication, talent, and impact on the arts and cultural sector. The honorees and finalists are selected every year through an open nomination process by a panel of peers in the field.

“I was honored to be nominated by the vice president of the Fine Arts Society, but didn’t think I would win. When I got the phone call, I was so surprised and humbled to be recognized for my efforts in both the art community and with my students,” Mrs. Mariani said.

She started her career at Lancaster High School in 1990 as the fine arts teacher, teaching Photography in the dark room as well as Studio in Art, Painting and Drawing and Portfolio. She has been the grade K-12 Art Department chairperson for the past 22 years and was integral in the creation of the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts starting in 2006. She was also heavily involved in the planning for the high school art gallery, which opened in 2019.

“Nancy has spent her entire career in service to the students and community of Lancaster.  She has been extremely dedicated to the art department and has put in countless hours working with our art students above and beyond what is asked of her.  She is truly passionate about what she does and has certainly helped shape the art department and immeasurably enriched the lives of her students.  Nancy's leadership and work ethic has left an imprint on this department, school, and community that will be felt for years to come,” LHS Art Teacher Ken Hawley said.

Mrs. Mariani plans to retire after this school year, but she will continue to be a part of the WNY art community and leaves behind a rich legacy at Lancaster Central Schools. One of her paintings will be on display at the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University for their 125th Catalog Show running May to December 2021.

The ASI 2021 Spark Awards will be streamed on its website,, on May 26, 2021.