Design for the Wild by Emma Teal Laukitis

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Director's Notes – October 2022

Submitted on October 6, 2022 - 12:06pm
Jamie Walker
Jamie Walker

Despite the unusually warm summer glow still with us, we welcomed the start of autumn quarter last week and the influx of students and faculty to campus. The beginning of the academic year brings with it a sense of renewal with the arrival of freshman and transfer undergrads taking classes at the UW for the first time. A new cohort of graduate students orient themselves in an anticipated, yet unfamiliar, academic environment. New faculty accelerate their landing in Seattle in order to be settled and prepared to teach on the opening day of the year. This particular year, the UW enrolled one of the largest and most diverse incoming classes ever, and the School of Art + Art History + Design experienced a surge in majors and full enrollments in our classes.

A hearty thanks and best wishes to several members of our staff who have moved on to new adventures, and I am pleased to introduce a growing number of new staff, as well as a few proclaimed retirees — Jeanette Mills and Mark Rector — who are doing great work during this time of transition. Nick Strobelt and Sean Lockwood are joining us as instructional technicians, Ruth Kazmerzak and Tiffany Palomino have transitioned into new positions on the Administration team, and Web Crowell is serving as interim manager of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery. Read our transitions article for more information on the staff changes. We are in the midst of four additional staff searches: Director of IT, Constituency Relations Officer, Web Information Specialist, and Director + Curator of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

Two of our senior faculty have also decided to leave the university. Philip Govedare, Professor in Painting + Drawing, will be retiring after teaching this quarter in a study abroad program in Paris. Professor Meredith Clausen retired in June to concentrate on her research and will be fondly remembered by the thousands of students enrolled over the years in her art and architectural history courses. We will also miss Stephanie Hanes and Claire Cowie, who made such positive impacts with their teaching in the Division of Art.

We are excited to have three new assistant professors joining us this year: Caitlin Earley and Jennifer Baez, both teaching Latin American art history, and Meichun Liu who has joined the Division of Design focusing in Industrial Design. We also have four new full-time lecturers with us this year — Kuldeep Singh, Victoria Jang, Nate Watson, and Samuel Jernigan — along with nine part-time faculty teaching this quarter. I am grateful that we have been able to add so many new voices to the School, and we are looking forward to adding more with our three faculty searches.

Our portion of the Art + Music renovation is on schedule and on budget thanks to our partners Mithun Architects, GLY Construction, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Provost, and a growing list of donors. The demolition stage has been completed and new walls, windows, doors, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, etc., are being constructed. A bit noisy and messy at times, but it is so exciting to see these long sought after, and transformational, changes actually becoming a reality. Planning is already underway to inhabit our new spaces by the beginning of Spring quarter. We have created a short slideshow to share the work in progress.

Our newsletter highlights the breadth of mission and accomplishment with perspectives from students, faculty and alumni. Faculty in art, art history and design continue to generate significant research with impact and recognition at local, national, and international levels. Our students inspire us all with their unbounded creativity and curiosity as they absorb and extend the lessons and challenges introduced both in and beyond the classroom. See the Student Voices stories to learn more about a few of our students’ experiences.

With some 200 students graduating last June, our alumni base continues to grow and engage far beyond the confines of campus. Following their post-graduation exploits is one of the great rewards for those who taught them and for those who are only associated with them through the shared experience of once being a student at the School. Barbara Earl Thomas and Wes Hurley are creators who explore the role of identity and perception with an intimacy and exactitude that is more than remarkable. Little did I know how fortunate I was to be enrolled in the last class that George Tsutakawa taught at the UW. He graciously invited his students to his overflowing home studio where I was mesmerized by his sublime sumi paintings and poetic wood and bronze sculptures. In addition to the newly replaced gates opening into the Arboretum, one of Tsutakawa’s seventy-five fountains has been restored and relocated to the northwest corner of the recently opened Founder’s Hall, adjacent to the Art Building. Read about all three of these alums in the Alumni Stories section.

Here's to the promise and freshness of new beginnings building on the experiences of the past. Thank you for being part of our community.

Jamie Walker

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