Marian Winsryg, a Santa Monica College (SMC) art professor and gallery director, has been named the recipient of the first Sam Francis/Martin Sosin Chair of Excellence.

She is the fifth person to receive a chair of excellence from the college. Others are in physical science, biology, earth sciences and music.

Winsryg will receive $5,000 for each of the next three years to be used for projects that will enhance her teaching methods.

The awards are administered by the SMC Foundation and are funded from interest earned on endowments.

The chair of excellence in art was established through contributions from Martin Sosin, a retired Santa Monica attorney.

Sosin wanted to create a tribute to close friend Sam Francis, an abstract painter who hired Sosin as a business manager.

Francis died in 1994. Sosin owns a private collection of Francis’s paintings, which were exhibited at the college last year.

Winsryg plans to use the funds to get the latest training and do research in the use and impact of digital technologies in fine art.

College president Piedad Robertson called Winsryg “not only a gifted artist and distinguished teacher,” but said “she has been on the cutting edge of the use of technology in fine art and developing and teaching new digital courses at SMC.”

Winsryg has taught at the college since 1987 and served as the college Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery director since 1999.

Winsryg’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the U.S., including the Roswell Museum of Art in New Mexico.

She has a bachelor’s degree in art education from Arizona State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Otis Art Institute, now Otis College of Art + Design in Westchester.