One of my favorite sayings in Italian is fretta e furia, loosely translated as being in a somewhat frenetic hurry or rush, which is exactly what spring quarter often feels like. While winter can seem like a time of incubation, in June everyone senses the end of the academic year and the pace picks up all over campus. Senior and graduate shows abound in our exhibition spaces at the Art Building, Sand Point Studios, and the Ceramic and Metal Arts Building as well as a display of student work in the UW Presidential Suite. Presentations and lectures were also abundant, including an especially timely and provocative analysis of a renowned Gordon Parks photograph presented by Professor Michael Lobel of Hunter College at this year's Kollar American Art Lecture: "Iconic Encounter: Gordon Parks and Ella Watson in 1942." This year marked the 60th anniversary of the MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition hosted at the Henry Art Gallery, and I encourage you to spend some time viewing our online Graduate Thesis + Dissertation Showcase, which extolls the work of all of our graduating grads.
On Saturday, June 9, the School held its graduation celebration at the Meany Center for the Performing Arts. Faculty and staff gathered in the green room to make ready for a 9am start, and there was a palpable sense of energy and comradery before everyone took their seats on the stage. A buzzing audience of family and friends filled the hall with the exception of the front rows when, right on cue, the irrepressible rhythm of Pomp and Circumstance ushered in over 200 graduates who had earned a BA, BFA, BDes, MA, MFA, MDes, or PhD degree. Brimming with excitement and anticipation, graduates took their places, situated in between the many people who had shared and supported their educational journey.
I imagine that many in the crowd of 1,100 who shared this celebration reflected on the challenges and joys, growth and change, complexity and comprehension, that each one of these students encountered while enrolled at the UW. The relief, pride, and sense of accomplishment that each graduating student espoused as they walked across the stage was perhaps tempered by wondering just how well prepared they were to engage the world in a meaningful way. While a time of great celebration and achievement, graduation also brings the realization that now is the time to take their next step into a future that offers unknown opportunities and challenges. Exhilarating for some, daunting for others, on behalf of the School I wish the graduating Class of 2018 all the best and welcome them as alumni.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of our jobs as educators is staying in touch with alumni and learning about the varied and remarkable paths they follow after they leave campus. We do our best to share these stories through our newsletter, website, and social media, especially because they can be inspirational to current students. Katie Miller (BFA 2003) is the featured artist in residence at MadArt Studio, an enterprise created by another alum, Alison Milliman. One more alum receiving deserved recognition is Associate Professor Kristine Matthews, who recently became the first recipient of the Educator Award presented by the Society for Experiential Graphic Design.
And so now it is summer in Seattle, a time when our faculty and student population is greatly reduced, and staff are busy taking stock of the past year, managing the School for summer quarter, prepping for autumn quarter, and anticipating changes for the future. Trying to stay abreast with the ever-evolving curriculum, technology needs, and student demand in a building that was designed for the arts some seven decades ago (the first wing of this Neo-Gothic gem was built in 1949) means reimagining how best to use the various studios, classrooms, and spaces. By the start of this autumn quarter, we will have relocated and consolidated the computer labs, created a large and flexible teaching and lecture space, and will have enhanced studio spaces for both undergrads and graduate students.
The Jacob Lawrence Gallery will feature two significant exhibitions curated by Director Emily Zimmerman with the assistance of her Contemporary Art Curating class and Gallery interns. Opening this week is multidisciplinary artist Megumi Shauna Arai’s exhibition Midst — a selection of photography and installations exploring the nature of belonging. At the end of July, the Gallery will open an exhibition featuring the work of artist Kerry Tribe, including her recent work, Standardized Patient, originally commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA). Both exhibitions promise to be of interest on multiple levels, and the Gallery will be open Tuesday through Saturday throughout summer quarter.
For the fourth year, the School will be a cultural partner of the Seattle Art Fair where our alumni and advisory board members will be well represented as artists or as gallery dealers. Like other cultural partners, we will have a table at the fair. Be sure to stop by and say hello.
Thank you for your continued engagement and support and have a wonderful summer!
Director, School of Art + Art History + Design
Professor, 3D4M: ceramics + glass + sculpture
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair in Art