Each year, the University of Washington recognizes 100 students from across all three campuses. The Husky 100 website says that these students connect activities inside the classroom and beyond to make a difference at the UW, in communities, and into the future.
Juan Franco Ricardo and Miha Sarani (BFA 2015) were both selected for 2019. They each graduated in June after completing MA practicum degrees in Art History. Read more about their UW experiences and future plans below.
Juan Franco Ricardo
I am honored to be recognized as a 2019 Husky 100 because it means that the nature of my achievements reached beyond the traditional walls of academia. From the start of my graduate studies, I felt an imposter syndrome because my vision in research and practice differed from my peers and caused institutional friction. I situated my vision at the intersection of many parts of the School through the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and the University through the Q Center, allowing me to make the most of my education and going beyond a strict path of academic research. Ultimately, the Husky 100 cohort represents a spirit of leadership, diversity, and social justice, and I am so proud to be part of this group.
I am grateful for the challenges of the institution. I have come out understanding the value of sustaining professional relationships that support and challenge my creative and academic visions. I wish I had learned that earlier. I am forever grateful for the accomplices in the School of Art + Art History + Design and for the material and emotional support from the Q Center.
During the summer, I will be teaching at Street Photography Summer Camp at Youth in Focus. I will also be organizing and producing the 2019 festival:festival supporting artists and cultural workers in Seattle. In the autumn, I will be part of the Neddy at Cornish team as the 2019 Neddy at Cornish Curator, where I will curate the exhibition for the finalist of the award. I will also help to create a series of interview videos of the finalists, write the exhibition catalogue, and engage with Cornish students.
To paraphrase Prince, it’s been 7 hours and a whole 4 days, since we graduated from the University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design. I most certainly haven't gone out every night or slept all day since then but rather have spent time reflecting on my odyssey at this incredible domain of knowledge — all while attempting to articulate to myself and any future employer what this journey meant to me.
The last couple of years sped by with lighting speed, at times seemingly too fast to even truly embrace. Still, there were key moments that appeared to have paused time — if only temporarily — allowing me to savor their significance. The Husky 100 award was such a moment. A dear friend and frequent collaborator, someone I enormously respect, received this great honor last year. To join him and other extraordinary individuals in this illustrious group was something I never expected could happen. Somehow, as a graduate student this goal felt harder to attain. Not only because the undergraduate student population is larger but, more importantly, because the field of art history does not generally lend itself to examples of great leadership and community involvement. Receiving the news of being selected was overwhelming, as well as a combination of pride, excitement, and humility.
There were other significant moments, along with the Husky 100 award, that made an indelible impression over the last couple of years. The most monumental was simply returning to the School as a graduate student. You see, I received a BFA from the same institution in 2015, and returning to my alma mater in pursuit of a master's degree was a dream come true. Well, not entirely true. Because to a kid growing up in Ljubljana, Slovenia, attending school in America seemed about as likely as projectile image weaving on Jupiter. The language barrier alone would have been problematic, if the distance wouldn't have caused hesitation already. The dream was simply too large and impossible. However, I came back as a graduate student — this time a budding art historian — sitting in the front row and devouring knowledge offered by illustrious faculty. I was nurtured by my loving family, caring friends, supportive staff, and dear colleagues. These moments of profound human connection and mutual respect for the scholarly pursuit remain with me as the warmest gift, which I fully intend to carry with me into the future.
And speaking of future — what it does it hold for me? Along with continuing to lecture on the subject of art history for Bellevue College, OSHER program at UW, and Seattle Central College Continuing Education, I will begin working as a teaching artist at the Kirkland Arts Center this autumn. As a visual artist, I am also currently working on my upcoming solo exhibit at the Slovene Embassy in Washington, DC, next June.
All these experiences and opportunities resulted from my time at my double alma mater, UW School of Art + Art History + Design. Najlepša hvala iz vsega srca, "so long and thanks for all the fish."