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Feb 2015 - Director's Notes

Submitted on February 24, 2015 - 12:00pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

For the students, staff, and faculty of the School of Art + Art History + Design, each academic quarter has its own identity and rhythm that we come to expect. Knowing that it is dark, damp, and cold outside, winter quarter is typically a time to be grateful for stimulating courses, engaging lectures and critiques, and dedicated hours in the classrooms, studios, and libraries. It is also the time of the season to select the next graduate class. With more than 400 applications for some 24 openings, we are looking forward to an amazing group of graduate students joining us next year. Winter quarter is also a time when many of our faculty present and attend the national College Art Association conference, held this year in New York City. The winter of 2015 has proved to be an exception in some senses. The warmth and sunshine has activated the Quad in ways often not seen until April: students are working en plein air, windows are open, birds are chirping, and the daffodils are already in bloom. Adding to the burst of springtime energy, the school is also in the midst of five faculty searches spread across all three divisions: Art/Photomedia + 3D4M, Art History/contemporary, and Design/ID + mHCI+D. This is an exciting glimpse into our future as we host multiple finalists for every position, each presenting lectures on diverse research and work within their respective fields. I am pleased to announce that the Art History search has concluded with the successful recruitment of Adair Rounthwaite, PhD (University of Minnesota), and currently a post-doc at McGill University in Montreal.

The end of the calendar year always brings an impressive number of gifts to the school, which are critical to our mission and support students, faculty, and programming above and beyond what the university is able to provide. We have made excellent headway towards our goal in establishing an Endowed Professorship in Industrial Design, and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of long time supporters, Mary and Allan Kollar, who have made possible an Endowed Chair in American Art History. An immediate effect of this position will be evinced by enhanced opportunities to bring leading scholars of American art to the school. I hope you will consider joining us on May 13 to attend a lecture presented by Kenneth Haltman, the H. Russell Pitman Professor of Art History at the University of Oklahoma, who will be presenting material from his forthcoming book Artists and Hunters: Figures of Predatory Looking in Nineteenth-Century American Art. Visit our Support Us webpage for a list of priority funds.

In partnership with the New Foundation Seattle, the collaborative, multimedia extravaganza known as HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? took over the Jacob Lawrence Gallery to construct an engaging exhibition that closes on February 28. One of their members, Mitch McEwen, Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan, was a featured speaker for the Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice lecture series held at the Henry Art Gallery auditorium. We eagerly look forward to the fourth innovative installment of Factory Showroom in The Jake: Fixing the Future – Technics and Time. This exhibition runs March 10 – April 11, but the reception (with a special screening) will be on April 7.

As this unusual winter quarter comes to a close, we anticipate final exams, critiques, and the blossoms of the iconic Yoshino cherry trees in our front yard. Soon it will truly be spring when our focus shifts to the completion of coursework and the time to celebrate the impressive accomplishments of our seniors and graduate students will be upon us. Opportunities to see exceptional student work will abound, with multiple and diverse exhibitions scheduled at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Sand Point, 3D4M, The Skinny, Room 009, and the Henry Art Gallery; the latter hosting our MFA+MDes Thesis Exhibition.

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