Common Ground by Erin Elizabeth Wilson

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Director's Notes – April 2022

Submitted on April 11, 2022 - 8:57am
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

The coming of spring is always a reward for those of us living in the Northwest, perhaps this year more than ever as we gingerly emerge from the persistent Covid pandemic. The campus is bustling in ways that have been sorely missed for the past two years, and the flora seems to be particularly vibrant. There also seems to be a new appreciation for and heightened interest in the Arts, with almost all of our classes filled beyond capacity.

The once familiar rhythm of spring quarter is also returning with a full slate of lectures, symposia, and student exhibitions. ShiPu Wang, Professor of Art History at the University of California, Merced, will present this year’s Kollar American Art Lecture on May 5, “Faces of Belonging: Intimate Portraits by Miki Hayakawa, Hisako Hibi, and Miné Okubo”, where he will introduce the overlooked artistic legacy of three Japanese American female artists.

Plaudits to The Graduate Students of Art History who are hosting a virtual symposium – “Dismantling the Body: Possibilities and Limitations in Art Making,” May 18–19.

The graduating seniors in the Divisions of Art and Design are exhibiting their capstone works in a series of shows at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery between April and June, while their graduate student peers will be featured at the MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition which opens at the Henry Art Gallery on May 27.

Anticipation is rising as the Art Building renovation project is in the final design phase. The design build team of Gly + Mithun is on track to begin construction immediately following graduation. This transformational renovation is part of the Arts Capital Campaign to revitalize key arts spaces on campus. Through a public-private partnership, the University has invested $10 million towards a campaign goal of $15 million to revitalize the Art and Music Buildings. Meeting this goal will require our community of supporters to come together and raise the final $5 million for the campaign.

We are proud to report that the School has raised over $2.2 of our $2.5 million goal, with an August deadline to raise the difference in order to ensure that we can complete all aspects of the planned work.

Please join us by making a contribution to the School's Capital Campaign Fund. Every gift made will help us transform the way we teach and create art on campus. We are excited for the future of the School of Art + Art History + Design, and we are grateful for your support.

Best wishes to Emily Zimmerman, director + curator of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, who is moving on to a new position in her hometown of Philadelphia. Over the past five years, Emily has helped transform the gallery with innovative and inspirational programming coupled with her unwavering commitment to equity and social justice. A national search will soon be underway to identify the next director and, in the meantime, a stellar interim team is in place to carry forward the mission of the gallery.

It is with a profound sense of loss that I share the news of the passing of two of the School’s esteemed faculty, Professor Emeritus Michael Spafford and Associate Professor Doug Jeck. Both were incredibly gifted artists, impactful teachers, and cherished colleagues. Though they were of different generations, their work shared a visceral intensity that investigated what it means to be human. I am grateful that beyond memories of their being, they also left behind such amazing and compelling artworks.

Thanks to a foundational pledge by Ron Porter and Joe Price, longtime friends and collectors of Doug’s work, the Doug Jeck Student Support Fund has been established to help facilitate a broad base of opportunities for 3D4M students including participation in conferences, residencies, and special projects. Gifts may be made online or by phone (877-894-4387).

In times like these I am even more grateful to be part of this creative community. Thank you for caring about who we are and what we do.

Jamie Walker

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