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Director's Notes

Submitted on October 1, 2019 - 3:42pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

It is a beautiful, sunny afternoon with the irrefutable signs of autumn accompanying the recent return of students and faculty to campus. The meetings and gatherings in preparation for the new academic year served as a delightful time to catch up with colleagues, welcome new graduate students, and anticipate the coming quarter. As has been typical during the past few summers, the spaces in the Art Building were a hive of activity as we endeavored to best address our needs. The Photo/Media grad program moved up to the third floor, and the new Art Honors program is activating the basement along with the new Art History Writing Center — the latter of which provides writing consultation for students in all three divisions of the School. Thank you to the hard-working staff who made the moves and transitions a possibility this summer!

In addition to the omnipresent commitment to teaching and research, the School will focus on a multitude of other activities this year with six faculty promotions in full swing, three faculty searches, and one Academic Program Review (rather ominously known as the "ten-year review"). The faculty being considered for promotion each give a public presentation, primarily on their research, which is a fascinating time to understand their particular areas of expertise and how it informs what they teach. For the three faculty in the Division of Design who are going up for promotion, there is a concurrent exhibition of their work at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. A successful promotion reflects a healthy hiring practice, and we are very excited to have been approved to conduct searches in each division of the School — one each in art, art history, and design.

While the approach of the Academic Program Review is a bit daunting, the process of recognizing what our community has accomplished since 2009 is inspirational and serves as a reflection of all the projects the School has undertaken and the progress we have made; additionally, the review helps clarify what our goals will be as we wend our way to 2029 and how the College of Arts & Sciences can best assist us along the way. The process is overseen by the Graduate School with a review committee comprised of UW faculty as well as colleagues from peer institutions, culminating in a three-day site visit in January.

One of the highlights during this period has been the increased presence and expanded mission of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. Countless students and faculty have exhibited their work at the Gallery since 1994 when it was named in honor of one of the School’s most distinguished faculty along with the establishment of a designated endowment. In recent years, the ambition for the Gallery has grown to serve as a primary portal to link the School with the three campuses and the greater arts community. Curated programming, including the Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency, has introduced us to artists from around the country along with an emphasis on critical arts writing resulting in the publication of Monday. Director and Curator Emily Zimmerman successfully lead the effort to have the Gallery W.A.G.E. certified, the only arts institution to be so designated in Washington State. The Gallery has been the recipient of numerous grants — such as Boeing, New Foundation Seattle, NEA ArtsWorks — along with dedicated donor contributions, and now we are in the midst of a campaign to build up the endowment to ensure the stability of the Gallery for years to come. An anonymous alum and passionate supporter of the School has made an incredibly generous offer of $300,000 in matching funds to help us reach this goal before the end of the year. Thank you for considering taking part in this special opportunity.

As always, thank you for your interest in reading our newsletter, where you will find a bevy of interesting stories about the students, staff, faculty, and alumni of the School.

Happy Autumn!

Jamie Walker

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

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