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Director's Notes

Submitted on January 14, 2020 - 10:05am
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

As 2019 rolled to a close and ushered in a new decade, the waning weeks of December were filled with joy, not only for completing another energizing quarter of teaching and learning but also for a number of newsworthy announcements, events, and activities. Meredith Clausen, Professor in Art History, has made public an incredibly generous and inspiring bequest to support current and future generations of colleagues and students with her planned gift to the UW of two Parisian apartments. Please read the College of Arts & Sciences Perspectives article to learn more about this transformative gift. Thanks to everyone who helped us make significant progress with our ongoing matching campaign to grow the Jacob Lawrence Gallery endowment, the School raised over $400,000 this past year, not to mention a flurry of additional end-of-year giving that provides essential support across the School. While the School typically conducts faculty searches during winter quarter, our search in American Art History has already reached a successful conclusion: it is with great pleasure that I announce the hiring of Juliet Sperling who will be appointed as Assistant Professor and the Kollar Endowed Chair of American Art effective in September.

After a few weeks of a more relaxed pace during the quarter break, the School launched the new decade at full throttle. Our annual Critical Issues Lecture Series opened last Thursday at the Henry Art Gallery auditorium with a compelling presentation by Croatian artist Dora Budor. This public lecture series — coordinated by Assistant Professor Flint Jamison as part of his Art 361/590 course and funded in part by alum Dale Chihuly through the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation — brings a diverse range of contemporary artists with their own unique perspectives and experiences to Seattle where they also engage with our students in a seminar setting.

I was delighted to meet this year's Jacob Lawrence Legacy Resident, Marisa Williamson, who is in residence at the School during January while creating a new body of work that will be shown at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery and at the SOIL Gallery downtown. This is the sixth iteration of this critical initiative, which offers opportunities to Black artists to expand and develop their ideas and work with our community. I encourage you to stop by the gallery to meet Marisa and/or attend her artist talk and exhibition reception on February 7. This year's residency is made possible thanks to a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

Speaking of decades, every ten years the School undergoes an Academic Program Review, also known as the "Ten-year Review." The School is in the midst of this, with the onsite portion scheduled for the end of January. A review committee comprised of UW and national peers will conduct interviews with students, staff, and faculty before submitting a report that outlines our strengths, challenges, and recommendations for the decade to come. Preparing the 150-page self-study was an arduous, intense, and fascinating opportunity to take stock of what the School has accomplished since 2010, what has changed, and how to plot a future course that allows the School to thrive while contributing to the research and teaching mission of the College of Arts & Sciences and the UW.

Our incredibly talented and accomplished students, staff, faculty, and alumni continue to be recognized for their many achievements and contributions in their respective fields. I am delighted to share the news that my former professor, mentor, and colleague, Professor Emerita Patti Warashina, has been selected by the Smithsonian Institution to receive their Smithsonian Visionary Artist Award for 2020. Patti is also one of the School's thousands of alumni, and I am excited to announce that a new School of Art + Art History + Design alumni association is being created. All alumni will be contacted soon about this exciting opportunity to reconnect with the School and fellow alumni.

Thank you for being part of our community and Happy 2020!

Jamie Walker

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