Hello to our Art + Design community!
Wow! What a year it has been. In this collectively challenging year, I hope that you and your loved ones are well and safe.
As the School of Art + Design at SDSU wraps up the fall semester, I want to thank our tremendous faculty and staff for their dedication and innovation. I extend warm greetings and congratulations to our 858 students for their resilience in completing this term, and we celebrate those graduating this semester.
While the majority of our classes this semester took place online, we started the semester with about 500 students enrolled in studio courses on campus. Faculty and students in these courses practiced social distancing, wore masks, and thus were able to utilize the kilns, hand tools, and specialized equipment for our studio courses. This took a turn when the University moved all classes off campus suddenly due to the course of the pandemic, not once, but twice! But our community worked together to ensure that students had access to what they needed, on campus and off, to be successful. I love the way that our faculty and staff have collaborated and shared ideas to ensure that we are able to support students in maintaining learning and community in the virtual environment.
We were pleased to launch Gather, a collective of community arts organizations, with a multi-site exhibition by Arzu Ozkal, Associate Professor of Graphic Design. Originated by AIGA and in partnership with the League of Women Voters, the exhibition featured work from female designers recognizing the 50th anniversary of women’s right to vote. The posters were on view in the School of Art + Design and each Gather partner site; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Art Produce, and Bread and Salt.
We also celebrate our faculty engagement with the community, including Kerianne Quick and her students, who created medals for frontline workers through the Hand Medal Project.
Our School was proud to launch “Amplify: Practicing Solidarity,” an impressive guest speaker series organized by Amy Sanchez Orteada, one of our newest lecturers. This virtual series took place within the Art 104 course and was open to the public. We are grateful to our Art Ambassador Michele Schlect for supporting this initiative.
Over 200 guests attended our virtual panel of filmmakers, artists, and activists in conjunction with a screening of the film “Aggie” about the life of philanthropist and advocate, Agnes Gund. This event was supported by the Jack Webb and Joan Schlossman fund.
This December, we launched our virtual Galleries and Exhibition program with “Upon Closer Inspection,” an exhibition organized by Galleries and Exhibitions Coordinator Chantel Paul. In addition, our graduate students were featured in a virtual and an innovative public exhibition of video art that can be viewed from the sidewalk and is on view at Art Produce.
Finally, we say goodbye to several faculty and staff members this year. David Fobes, Philip Matzikeit, and Tyler Blik retired in the summer of 2020 and Richard Keely, Jim Cavolt, Jun Kwon, and David Hewitt are taking the early retirement program this fall 2020. We will miss each and every one of them. And I want to say a special thank you to Professor Richard Keely, who has made a lasting impact on our community and students near and far, and Jim Cavolt, whose knowledge of our School inside and out has been invaluable in supporting our facilities. We wish them and all our retiring colleagues the best of luck and lots of time for creativity and making! We can’t wait to see what they create with more time on their hands and hope they, and you, stay in touch.
Wishing you a happy holiday season and a bright New Year!
Director, SDSU School of Art + Design