Nationally recognized art professor dead at 67

A nationally recognized art and design professor who was an active part of the Fresno community died Saturday.

Dr. Paulette Fleming, 67, joined Fresno State as a faculty member in 1988.

Throughout her life, she dedicated herself toward educating the youth in the Valley through various art projects, one of which she was in the process of completing.

In collaboration with Partners in Arts, the City of Fresno and The Way Ministries…John 14:6 Fleming was creating a mural project with local youth at the Lafayette Park and Community Center.

Dr. Martin Valencia, chair of the art and design department, announced the news and sent his condolences to her family, colleagues and friends.

“We will cherish her memory and will miss her commitment to the University’s students and colleagues,” Valencia said. “The community will miss a great ambassador for the children and social justice.”

Fleming was the co-founder and executive director of the Partners-in-Art youth program. She saw the program as an opportunity for youths of all backgrounds to be brought together in the name of art.

The program was chosen to be one of 25 university projects nationwide invited to present at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival for its dedication to educating central San Joaquin Valley youth in art through the “Hungry for Art/ART FOR HUNGER” project.

She was also chosen to be the first recipient of the J. Eugene Grigsby Award for meritorious service to art education by the Committee on Multicultural Affairs of the National Art Education Association.

“Dr. Fleming had a special love for children and youth,” said Dr. Francine Oputa, president of the Fresno State Black Faculty and Staff Association and a friend of Fleming. “She put that love into action in her work with some of Fresno’s most vulnerable children and youth through the use of visual and performing arts.”

Services are pending.

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