Dear SA+AH Community,
Welcome (or welcome back)! I hope everyone had a wonderful and productive summer. This summer was a time of change as we wished our long-serving Dean Lavelli a happy retirement and welcomed our new Dean Ozuzu to the College of the Arts. I hope you will take the opportunity to meet Dean Ozuzu during some of our fall events and help me introduce her to the range and scope of the excellent work done within our School. This fall we are also welcoming several new faculty members into our community. Dr. Rachel Silveri joins our Art History faculty as an Assistant Professor of Modern Art. Daniel de Souza has accepted the position of Visiting Lecturer in Graphic Design. Patrick Grigsby has accepted the position of Lecturer in Art Education and will continue to have an administrative post as the Graduate and Distance Education Coordinator. Deke Weaver is joining us for the year as part of our first faculty exchange. Deke comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he holds the post of Associate Professor of New Media. Deke will be teaching Art + Technology classes this year while Katerie Gladdys is in Illinois teaching at UIUC. Sherri Blasé is taking over the printmaking area and courses as a Visiting Assistant Professor while Bob Mueller is on sabbatical for the fall semester.
You may notice the results of our busy summer when you return this fall. In addition to our usual slate of summer classes, we also launched our first pre-college camps in June. The camps brought ambitious high school artists and designers to make work on campus for three weeks, culminating in a pop-up exhibition at the Harn Museum of Art. You may see new faces in our studios on Saturdays this year, as the program continues this fall with four classes (Digital Photography, Ceramics, Life Drawing, and Painting). I hope you will welcome these makers into our community. Summer also brought some building projects, including a new HVAC system installed in the metal shop, and some asbestos abatement and painting on the third floor of FAC – both projects making the spaces healthier for all of us. You may also notice that we added many more linear feet of display space to the hallways of FAD and FAC. We look forward to filling our hallways with the art and design work being done in our classrooms and studios.
New this fall will be several ways for students to communicate with me, including student office hours and two new student advisory groups (one for undergraduates and one for graduates). My student office hours for the fall will be Thurs Sept 20 from 12:30 to 1:30pm, Wed Oct 17 from 4-5pm, and Wed Nov 14 from 10-11am.
The Visiting Artist Lecture Series begins with artist Dread Scott on Sept 4 at 6:15pm in Little Hall. The Harn Eminent Scholar Program (HESCAH) lectures kick off with Dr. Nicola Courtright on Sept 21 at the Harn. The fall schedule in the University Gallery begins with “An Evolutionary Moment: Steven Siegel” exhibition. This exhibition was planned as a companion show to the Harn Museum of Art exhibit, “The World to Come: Art in the time of the Anthropocene”, which opens on Sept 18.
These lectures and shows bring a range of examples of how artists are engaging with the largest issues of our time. They remind me of the way Ann Lauterbach asks artists to engage the public to “imagine solutions to seemingly intractable problems and predicaments in contemporary life.”1
As we begin again the process of learning and teaching, I want to share Lauterbach’s sentiment that arts education is more critical to democratic social space than ever before, that “To teach persons to make art is to teach them to resist the commodification of their wills and desires, to use flexibility and ingenuity in the face of adversarial forces, to build a capacity for the attention and response to that which is not like them or belongs to them.” Her thinking around arts practice is also relevant at this point in time when she writes, “If we understand arts practice as a means to formations of new constituencies of inclusion and belonging that, in Emerson’s great phrase, ‘unsettle’ our assumptions and realign our relation to the intersecting arcs of our presences, then we will be less vulnerable to the received habits of thought that continue to threaten and curtail our liberties.” I look forward to seeing and hearing how and where your work contributes to this dialog.
Have a great semester,