Inheritance by Katherine Groesbeck

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Director's Notes – June 2024

Submitted on June 21, 2024 - 2:52pm
Jamie Walker, 2023
Jamie Walker, 2023.

The ebb and flow of life on campus is a constant, a rhythm that tends to build to an intense crescendo each quarter before the release following final papers and exams, exhibitions and critiques. Somehow we all - students, staff, and faculty - get through it, rest and recoup, and begin the cycle again. Spring quarter is a time of heightened extremes for those completing their degrees and it was with a collective sense of joy, relief, and pride that we congratulated 250 students at our 2024 Graduate Celebration at the Meany Center for the Performing Arts on June 8th.

Spring is also when awards are presented for extraordinary achievement and this year two members of our community were honored. Freesoul El-Shabazz Thompson was awarded with a College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Medal in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in pursuit of his MFA. The University of Washington Alumni Association selected Professor Emeritus Patti Warashina (BFA 1962, MFA 1964) to receive the Golden Graduate Distinguished Alumna Award. UWAA hosted a celebratory brunch at the Museum of Flight that was heralded by the Husky Marching Band much to the surprise and delight of the crowd. The BA and BDes capstone exhibitions at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery were energized and wonderful testaments of years of study and creativity. The MDes grads shared the Gallery this year with the BDes cohort while the MFA class exhibited at RailSpur in Pioneer Square. You can learn more about our graduate students’ thesis work in our Graduate Showcase website.

After ten years serving as director of the School of Art + Art History + Design, I will be stepping aside at the end of this month and returning to teaching. Professor of Visual Communication Design and Associate Director Annabelle Gould will be inheriting this position on July 1st as the first female director in the history of the School. Recognized for her award-winning publication designs, Annabelle is also a gifted teacher who has had a national impact on design education. The School will be in good hands.

It has been an eventful decade for the School as we have managed to solidify our presence and purpose on campus. There has been a generational transition amongst the staff and faculty resulting in new curriculum and opportunities for our students and expansive research trajectories for faculty and students.

I am particularly grateful that we were able to fulfill the vision of a new Jacob Lawrence Gallery that coincidentally resulted in dramatically upgrading several other teaching studios. Under the guidance of our dynamic new gallery director, Jordan Jones, I am excited about the future of the gallery and how it will expand its presence and impact on our community and beyond. Our remaining challenge is solidifying a consistent budget that can support our modest yet ambitious programming, especially now that we have a space that meets the standards of the American Association of Museums. While our long-term goal continues to build the Jacob Lawrence Gallery endowment, we have an immediate goal of raising $25,000 to support our robust programming in the coming year. Thank you for considering a gift to help us reach this goal.

It has been a privilege to steward the School for these past ten years, an opportunity beyond my wildest dreams when I enrolled in my first art class here at the UW almost fifty years ago. The past, present, and future collective community that is the School of Art + Art History + Design is amazing and continues to make a positive difference in so many lives.

Thank you once again to all who care and are curious about who we are and what we do.