Coast Salish spindle whorl

You are here

Director's Notes – June 2022

Submitted on June 28, 2022 - 12:57pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

“We made it!”, or some more colorful sentiment, was a common refrain that I heard from students, staff, and faculty as the academic year came to a close and we eased into summer. Despite the fits and starts necessitated by the pandemic and the ever-increasing levels of anxiety experienced as informed global citizens, we managed to cap off this extraordinary year on a high note, highlighted by our first in-person graduation in three years. Even with the early Saturday morning start, over 150 of our 221 degree recipients were joined by their family, friends, faculty, and staff to celebrate their accomplishments at a capacity-filled Meany Center for the Performing Arts. The student speeches were truly inspirational, including that of Tiffany-Ashton Gatsby who was the School’s first President’s Medalist. Joyce Lin and Dustin Mara, both selected for the Husky 100, tag-teamed on behalf of the Design undergraduate cohort. All of the speeches can be found in the Student Voices segment of this newsletter. Numerous other School graduation awards were presented for scholarly, artistic, and teaching achievements. In recognition of the moment of transition from student to alumni, Adam Kingman (BDes 2014) shared his thoughts on how best to navigate the “real world” beyond the UW campus.

Leading up to graduation was the welcome return of the BA and BDes capstone exhibitions at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, with the Design seniors making the most of the opportunity to be the last exhibiting in the original location of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery with the aptly titled show Design as Disruption. There was a robust event to celebrate the MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery, and the Graduate Showcase website is scheduled to launch in July.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium graced Mary Gates Hall once again, as several of our students shared their research with a wider community. Graduate students and faculty in Art History were selected by the UW Simpson Center of the Humanities to receive funding for upcoming research initiatives. Our Other News section includes additional updates on current and emeritus faculty, along with alumni.

Congratulations are also due to Evalina Taganna Romano, a valued member of the custodial team that takes care of the Art Building, for being recognized by President Cauce with a “Together We Will” award.

While summer is typically a quieter time around the Art Building, with just a handful of classes being offered, two days after graduation a new crew from GLY contractors arrived to begin the highly anticipated renovation of much of the first floor, including the relocation of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. As part of the Arts Capital Campaign focused on the Art and Music Buildings, the matching support from our donors has been unprecedented and donations are still being actively solicited. While the inconvenient realities of renovation work are becoming more apparent by the day, demolition should be completed relatively soon, and the new spaces will begin to take shape with an anticipated reopening by the start of spring quarter 2023. In the meantime, the gallery, studios, shops, and faculty and staff offices will be housed in temporary quarters throughout the Art Building.

After championing the Arts at the UW for the past six years, Divisional Dean of the Arts Catherine Cole has stepped aside to return to her research and teaching. Our new dean, Dr. Gabriel Solis, will be joining us over the summer following his move from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The support for the School from the upper administration has never been greater, and I look forward to working with our new dean to continue this momentum.

Thank you for your continued interest and support, and here’s to a peaceful and restorative summer.

Jamie Walker

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