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Sep 2016 - Director's Notes

Submitted on September 13, 2016 - 4:39pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

Although most schools, colleges, and universities have already welcomed students to the new academic year, the UW maintains the tradition of offering classes within a quarter system resulting in a late September start of autumn quarter. While we eagerly anticipate the energy that new students and faculty bring to the start of every year, I want to share some of the highlights from the past couple of months.

The annual School of Art + Art History + Design Graduation Celebration moved to Meany Theater where a capacity crowd of over 1,000 graduating students, family, friends, faculty, and staff were dazzled by the accomplishments, passion, and promise of the graduating class of 2016.

While our newest alumni move on to the next stage of their journey, the faculty typically use the summer months to focus on their research or to engage in unique teaching opportunities on campus and abroad. Professor Rebecca Cummins (Division of Art, Photomedia Program) — in collaboration with Philip Thurtle (Associate Professor in CHID), Tyler Fox (Lecturer in HCDE), and Joel Ong (PhD Candidate in DXARTS) — was selected to teach the Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities based on the theme of Excitations: Energy Studies in the Arts and Humanities, which culminated with a fascinating exhibition of student work in the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. Assistant Professor Michael Swaine (Division of Art, 3D4M Program) — in partnership with Andrew Feld, Director of the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English — developed Multiplying Mediums: A Summer Colloquium for Poets and Visual Artists, which brought together graduate students from the arts and creative writing to explore and share their respective creative practices and collaborate on new projects which were presented at the 3D4M studios at the Ceramic and Metal Arts Building in July. Portfolio of Possibilities, a five-month residency at the MadArt Studio in South Lake Union paired Associate Professors Amie McNeel and Mark Zirpel (both in the Division of Art, 3D4M Program) with guest Sam Stubblefield, where they engaged students and the public in their cacophonous creative practice, which culminated with a grand opening just before the Seattle Art Fair.

For the tenth year, the Division of Design sent a team to participate in the Design Expo hosted by Microsoft Research. Five just-graduated BDes alumni presented a project that was mentored by Associate Professor Axel Roesler and three staff from Microsoft Research. Read more about this annual summer event and follow a link to their presentation.

Summer is the season for many of our students to extend their studies by immersing themselves in one of our faculty and staff led international study programs to the Netherlands, London, and Rome. Scores of other students expanded their learning through internships, residencies, and travel throughout the country and abroad.

The summer months are also a time of continual activity for School staff who carry on with supporting the School's initiatives, strategize the upcoming academic year, and ensure the three facilities are ready for new students and faculty. The Advising staff has been welcoming many of our freshman and transfer students through orientation sessions, and the incoming graduate students are expectantly trickling in from all corners of the globe.

New faculty are settling into their offices, meeting colleagues, and prepping for their classes. We are very excited to welcome Assistant Professors Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse and Audrey Desjardins along with five full-time Lecturers: Claire Cowie (IVA), Morten Steen Hansen (Art History), JT Milhoan (Industrial Design), Dan Paz (IVA), and Kate Roberts (3D4M). Their arrival follows a rigorous search process that began almost a year ago, a process that we are initiating again as we have approval to search for two additional tenure-track positions: one in our Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Program and the other for the Kollar Chair in American Art in the Division of Art History.

For most of us, our time in college helps define who we are, propelling us into the future with a mixture of newly acquired knowledge, ambition, and a dose of trepidation. There are thousands of alumni who hold degrees from the School. Some of us come back to academia — there are seven alumni currently on the faculty and nine staff member alums — for other alumni, memories and friendships are rekindled through social media, chance encounters, or through this newsletter. We have been making an effort to reconnect with more of our alumni, to hear their stories and share their experiences with our current students so that they may better understand the incredible scope of possibilities that awaits them after graduation. Alumni serve as invaluable role models, mentors, advocates, and supporters of the School. The Student Voice Project (SVP), created by Advising a couple of years ago, has been instrumental in this effort: the SVP reaches out to alumni and invites many back to the School to enage with our students or establish internships. The annual Design Show attracts an impressive number of enthusiastic alumni to the opening. A new initiative in this spirit is the launch of the School of Art + Art History + Design Alum in Residence. This annual appointment is held by a distinguished alum who can both benefit from reengaging with the School and the UW as well as share their knowledge and experience in a variety of ways. I am very pleased to welcome Anne Focke, class of 1967 BA in Art History, to once again be a trailblazer and help us launch this endeavor.

Looking beyond the start of classes, the Jacob Lawrence Gallery has a full slate of new exhibitions scheduled featuring the work of current students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other artists of note. The Utopia Neighborhood Club exhibit, opening in November, will begin our celebration and recognition of the 100th anniversary of the birth of renowned artist — and School faculty member — Jacob Lawrence. A new student exhibition will be on display at Meany Theater and a collection of work from the art faculty will grace the office suite of President Cauce and Provost Baldasty. Lectures open to the public will commence with our very own Ivan Drpić presenting his stellar research with a talk titled "The Enkolpion: Object and Self in Medieval Byzantium" on September 29. November will offer the Walker-Ames lecture by the legendary Martin and Erik Demaine of MIT followed by the Kollar American Art History series which will feature Professor Wendy Bellion from the University of Delaware. Also in November, 3D4M will host an open house celebrating the completion of the glass facilities at the Ceramic and Metal Arts Building, a project envisioned with the creation of the Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair of Glass. Watch for additional information about November events in our October newsletter, and you can always learn more about the School by visiting our website.

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