(balancing one’s own weight in a shadow of antithetical sides) by Paul Baughman

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Oct 2014 - Director's Notes

Submitted on October 28, 2014 - 12:00pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

It is with true pleasure and anticipation that I welcome you to read the first e-newsletter of the new academic year at the School of Art + Art History + Design. Writing these Director’s Notes was the furthest thing from my mind when I first walked into the Art Building as a freshman several decades ago. It is an honor and a privilege to be named as the new director of the school, a position that I would never have come by without the formative education I received at the University of Washington. I would like to recognize my predecessor, Professor Christopher Ozubko, for his years of dedicated service and for leaving the school in great shape for the future. In June, thanks to friends and supporters, the Christopher Ozubko Endowed Graduate Support Fund, to benefit graduate students in all divisions, was created in recognition of his accomplishments and passion for teaching. Chris has happily returned to full time teaching in the Division of Design.

It has been a dynamic start to the quarter with the launch of Mad Campus, the Grad Welcome BBQ, promotion lectures by faculty Sonal Khullar and Timea Tihanyi, and grad exhibits at Sand Point, CMA, and the Art Building. There were guest lectures by distinguished international artists Gongkai Pan, in conjunction with his exhibit at the Frye Art Museum, and Tanya Pak, an artist/designer from Slovenia whose visit was made possible by the UW/Ljubljana faculty exchange. We hosted five additional guest lectures thanks to the artists Jordan Wolfson, Nicole Seisler, Leo Berk, and Jane Fine along with the Princeton art historian Robert Bagley. We celebrated the grand reopening of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and our annual scholarships presentation, when we awarded over $110,000 to our talented students. To top it all off, we welcomed 350 freshman, 55 transfer students and 21 new grads while teaching 78 classes in Seattle and Leon, Spain.

As students and faculty returned to campus this September, they encountered a unique sight: a dozen sculptural works placed in strategic and sometimes secluded sites on campus, the latest production of Mad Art, founded by alumna and advisory board member Alison Milliman. Mad Campus garnered well-deserved acclaim for energizing the campus and providing unique opportunities for thirteen artists, the majority of whom were our alumni. Current students had the exciting opportunity to work as interns, assisting Mad Art, working closely with the artists, and acting as docents, skillfully trained by advisory board member Hilary Lee. Associate Professor Kristine Matthews and her student, Katherine Wong, admirably took on the challenging task of designing the wayfinding and a map that located and described the artworks spread across campus. Numerous instructors took advantage of the rare opportunity of having the work so accessible and led their students on tours or used the work as live subject matter.

It has been an active period of transition, and I want to keep you abreast of some of the exciting changes that have taken place or are on the near horizon. As you may have noticed, the name of the school has been changed to the School of Art + Art History + Design to be more reflective of the faculty and staff who work here and the diverse curriculum that we teach. Although all three divisions maintain a certain level of autonomy and independence, the fact that we work together, interact, and collaborate gives testimony to the strength of the school, which in turn informs our research and teaching, and most importantly encourages our students to do the same.

I am delighted to introduce you to our four new staff members: Merith Bennett, Andy Fallat, Scott Lawrimore, and Risa Morgan Lewellyn. In addition to our dedicated and essential cast of part-time faculty, we have also hired two full-time lecturers for the year, Mathew Marzynski in Industrial Design and Nicole Seisler teaching ceramics in 3D4M. Read about all of them in this news post.

In a significant sign of support for the future of the School, the College of Arts & Sciences approved four tenure-track faculty searches for this year. We aim to hire stellar faculty in Art History/Contemporary, Industrial Design, Photomedia, and 3D4M/Ceramics. The committees have been formed, the job advertisements are in the process of being released, and we will spend the next six months searching, interviewing, and hiring.

I am especially pleased to announce that, thanks to the vision and generosity of four Industrial Design alumni, the ID search includes the establishment of a new endowment at the School of Art + Art History + Design, the first endowed professorship in Industrial Design. The endowment will enable the school to recruit a high-profile candidate who will help sustain and grow the program’s international stature. When fully funded, the Industrial Design Professorship will provide the ID professor with flexible resources to invest in new opportunities and special projects that will expand and strengthen the Industrial Design Program. We have set a goal of raising $700,000 to establish this endowment. If you would like to help officially launch the Industrial Design Professorship, please contact Stephanie Kornfeld at kornfs@uw.edu or 206.616.1709.

The repurposing of the Slide Library is now complete, resulting in Space 120 and Space 122, with both rooms dedicated to enhancing the student experience. While 122 is primarily a study and collaborative space supported by our Visual Services staff, 120 is used by Advising to host info sessions and is home for the Student Voice Project (SVP).

The Jacob Lawrence Gallery has also been transformed thanks to Scott Lawrimore, the inaugural Director of The Jake. The director position was created to stimulate programming, raise the profile of the gallery, and better incorporate it into our academic mission. After a few short months on the job spent conceiving the program, retrofitting the space, and collaborating with Kristine Matthews and student Kaito Gengo on rebranding efforts, the first exhibition, Factory Showroom: Industry, ushered in crowds of faculty, staff, and students from across the UW as well as members of the Seattle arts community (the exhibit runs through November 15). Scott is also hosting the Factory Picnic every Wednesday at noon, an informal meeting of students, staff, faculty, and the public who gather to discuss an array of thought-provoking topics in relation to the exhibitions. Please note the new gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm.

It’s an exciting time of transition and change at the School of Art + Art History + Design. Stay in touch by visiting our website, and I hope you can join us at one of our upcoming lectures or openings. Whether as an alumni, friend, faculty, or staff, your interest and involvement is crucial to the present and future of the school.

Jamie Walker
Director, School of Art + Art History + Design
Professor, 3D4M: ceramics + glass + sculpture
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair in Art