(Miami) August 28th, 2014 — Born into an iconic family of artists and educators, Thomas Wyroba was destined to lead a lifetime dedicated to make the world a better place through the power of artistry.
Thomas Wyroba, “Mr. Y”, was a gifted artist, art educator, extraordinary mentor and father figure to generations of Miami art students, who died unexpectedly Sunday, August 24, 2014 at his Miami home, at the age of 64.
Tom’s teaching was his best and most fulfilling passion in his life. He taught and mentored three generations of young art students and obtained for them millions of dollars in scholarships from the finest art institutes, colleges and universities across the globe. Mr. Y, as students lovingly called him, devoted 37 years teaching painting, drawing, ceramics and performance art. His drive for excellence led him to devote long hours encouraging and guiding students to achieve their potential. Knowing student success requires full family support, he advised parents to make the walls of their homes an artist studio for their aspiring artists. He felt his greatest contributions were his student’s success in fulfilling their dreams with accomplishments.
A quintessential Florida “native,” Tom’s family moved to Miami from Buffalo, NY at age 12. A superb baseball player with dreams of the big leagues, Tom’s artistic talents overcame his athletic ambitions when he earned a BFA in Ceramics and then one of the nation’s first MFA degrees in Performance Art both from Ohio State. Eventually returning to Miami, “for the fishing,” he began his acclaimed teaching career in public schools. For the last 27 years he was a distinguished faculty at the high school and college levels in Miami’s acclaimed New World School of the Arts (NWSA) completing a 37 year career. “He was an incredible teacher,” says Maggie Cuesta, NWSA’s Dean of Visual Arts. “He gave his all to his students.” Tom was also an adjunct professor with his wife, Stacey Mancuso at the Maryland Institute College of Art pre-college program in Aix-en-Provence, France and Castel del Piano, Italy.
Mr. Y was recognized for his leadership and excellence in teaching with numerous awards including National Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation of the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) Young Arts, Scholastic Art and Writing Awards-Distinguished Teacher for 16 years, and eleven time US Presidential Scholars Distinguished Teacher Award, a record in the history of (NFAA) Young Arts.
Retiring in January, he chose to voluntarily continue to acquire for NWSA a record number of student awardees in the nation scholarships and devote “more time to the art of fishing,” Tom continued to help his students realize their dreams of attending the world’s finest art schools. That dedication earned his 2014 graduating class over $10 million dollars in scholarships.
Tom was a devoted father, husband and friend to everyone that he touched in life. His personality was always about making people smile and laugh. He leaves behind his loving wife of 43 years, Dr. Stacey Mancuso, who has also dedicated her life to arts and education and is the Principal of the renowned Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH). His beautiful and talented daughters, Alexandra “Sasha” a set designer in New York City and Elizabeth “Liz” of Miami, meant the world to him. Tom beamed with pride last week as he walked Sasha down the aisle during a spectacular wedding to her husband Reza, who was like a son to him and one of his former NFAA Presidential Scholars. After the wedding, last weekend Liz left for Seoul, Korea to begin a new career, and Stacey started the school year at DASH.
A memorial to commemorate Mr. Y’s life will be held in the Design District at The Moore Building, located at 4040 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, Florida, Saturday, August 30th at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to MDC-WyMan Scholarship Fund in his memory.
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