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Director's Notes

Submitted on June 25, 2019 - 2:29pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

The advent of the summer solstice ushers in a welcome interlude following the excitement and intensity that accompanies the end of the academic year. This period of time also affords a respite to reflect on all that transpired during the exuberance of spring quarter activities.

The School hosted a number of celebrated and accomplished guests throughout spring quarter including Barnard College/Columbia University Associate Professor and art historian, Elizabeth West Hutchinson, who presented the annual Kollar American Art Lecture. Acclaimed artist and the Mary Ann and John D. Mangels Endowed Lecturer, Theaster Gates, gave an invigorating talk in Kane Hall, after spending inspired time with School students. We also welcomed ten design alumni who graduated a decade ago and have already made an indelible mark in their respective fields. They shared their stories and advice with a rapt audience of current students, fellow alumni, and faculty.

The School's Advisory Board presented the Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award to Steve Kaneko, in recognition of his decades of creative innovation and mentorship. In conjunction with the biennial celebration, nearly $160,000 was raised in support of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. The School is grateful, not only to donors who participated in the fundraising activity, but also to the Advisory Board, School staff, and student volunteers whose dedication and hard work made for a very successful evening. The Gallery was also the recipient of its second NEA ArtsWorks grant to support the 2020 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency.

In addition to their inspired, innovative, and dedicated commitment to teaching, the School’s faculty are also maintaining robust research agendas resulting in a steady stream of publications, exhibitions, grants, and lectures. Professor Zhi Lin (Painting + Drawing) was particularly active because of the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad completion; his ongoing body of work addresses issues related to the treatment of Chinese railroad workers. Several Division of Design faculty have also been active with publishing and presenting their research.

It is a true joy to keep up with our extensive alumni community and recognize the impact they are having on the arts world. Congratulations to Tracy Montes (BA Art History 2014), who was introduced as one of the first twelve fellows of the Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Fellowship founded by Americans for the Arts, and to Sherry Markovitz (MFA 1975), who was honored by Artist Trust with the Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement. Once again, the School is a cultural partner of the Seattle Art Fair and will be well represented by alumni who are artists and gallery owners. Friends of the School may purchase discounted tickets to the Seattle Art Fair.

Of course, the culminating experience of spring quarter for many students is graduation; a time when the School community comes together to celebrate the years of hard work and dedication to all things Art + Art History + Design! The 252 undergraduate and graduate students completing degrees were recognized at the School's Graduation Celebration in Meany Theater. Spring quarter also marked other senior experiences including art and design students exhibiting their work in a revolving series of exhibitions at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery plus in our satellite galleries at the Sand Point Studios, the Ceramic and Metal Arts Building, and within the Art Building. For Industrial Design student Grace Budgett, the highlight came when she was selected as the Industrial Designers Society of America 2019 West District Student Merit Award Winner. The MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition gave graduating grad students the opportunity to have their work featured at the Henry Art Gallery. The event was notable, not only for the ambitious and impressive quality of the work, but also for a certain sense of urgency and independence that each of the grads expressed. Visit the 2019 Graduate Thesis + Dissertation Showcase to see the work of these emerging artists and designers as well as abstracts from our art history graduates. Well-deserved honors were bestowed upon grads Jackie Granger (MFA Photo/Media), who was recognized as the Dean’s Graduate Medalist in the Arts, and to Juan Franco Ricardo and Miha Sarani, both MA Art History practicum degree recipients, who were selected as members of the Husky 100. Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

As we ease into summer quarter, the School operates at a seemingly lower frequency with fewer classes being offered, the vibrant energy of the graduating class recently dissipated, and many of the faculty away pursuing their research. However, behind the scenes, staff are busy wrapping up spring quarter, facilitating summer quarter, and making plans for autumn quarter — with some necessary organizing and infrastructure updates in the mix. Summer is also a time when planning is well underway for the next academic year, one which promises to be particularly active as the School embarks on its Ten-Year Academic Review and accompanying site visit, supervises the promotion cases of six faculty members, and anticipates a number of new faculty searches. Stay tuned and thank you for your interest in our activities and achievements and for supporting the School of Art + Art History + Design!

Jamie Walker

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