One unforeseen benefit arising from this particularly moist and chilly winter quarter was the delay of the annual burst of the Yoshino cherry blossoms in the Quad. There was a certain sense of relief and joy in the air as students returned to campus for the first day of spring quarter with this year’s spectacular display of blossoms just reaching their peak. I am reminded of the cyclical patterns of nature and the cycle of experiences we share as part of the School of Art + Art History + Design community. While we welcome new students and faculty primarily at the beginning of fall quarter, spring steers us to graduation and saying goodbye as our students embark on the next steps of their respective journeys and join the thousands of alumni who have preceded them.
Spring quarter is notable for the energy emanating from our graduating class as they complete their final courses and anticipate life after school. For the art and design students, it is the season when they emerge from their studios and exhibit their work in a series of public exhibitions at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and the Henry Art Gallery, as well as our additional venues in the Art Building, CMA, and Sand Point. I encourage you to attend at least one of these exciting showcases before these students receive their diplomas at our Graduation Celebration in Meany Hall on June 10.
Alumni are an essential component to the identity and strength of the School. This vast and diverse group/community/cohort serve as role models, mentors, teachers, and employers for our students. The array of professions, passions, and interests informed by their time on campus is inspiring and reminds the faculty and staff why our jobs matter. Alumni are also our most generous donors providing essential support to students and faculty.
Conferences often provide the impetus for alumni, faculty, and students to reminisce, catch up, and look forward. Such was the case at the Renaissance Society of America conference in Chicago where faculty, graduate students, and alumni from the Division of Art History all presented at the conference. Last month, at the National Conference on the Education of Ceramic Arts, over 60 alumni traveled to Portland and joined current students at a gathering hosted by ceramics faculty Doug Jeck, Michael Swaine, Kate Roberts, and myself. Another gathering of alumni is scheduled on April 22 in Seattle at a celebration to remember our esteemed colleague Akio Takamori.
The annual Design Career Fair provides a unique and propitious opportunity for our Design students to interview with a crowd of leading firms, all vying for a coveted internship or chance to launch their professional career. It is always impressive to note how many former students have now flipped to the other side of the interview table where they are well placed to connect with and recruit their former selves.
Anne Focke (BA 1967) has been our inaugural alum in residence throughout the year. She has made an indelible impression on the interns assisting with an archival project and also on the numerous students, faculty, and staff who have encountered her. Later this month, the School Advisory Board, chaired by Anne Traver (BFA 1976), will sponsor the Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award event recognizing the influential career of Beth Sellars. The event will be hosted by Greg Kucera (BFA 1980) and Larry Yocom with distinguished guest speaker Jenny Sabin (BFA 1998). In addition to highlighting the importance of arts leadership, we are also anticipating that the evening will serve as a showcase for the School, reach a broad audience, serve as a communication platform to the greater Seattle arts community, and will encourage inspired pledges to support graduate students.
Thanks for your continued interest in and engagement with the School.
Director, School of Art + Art History + Design
Professor, 3D4M: ceramics + glass + sculpture
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair in Art