Friday, May 10, 2013

Long Awaited

The theme for this post long awaited; long awaited post, long awaited end of semester, long awaited graduations, and long awaited new department chair. Needless to say it has been a kick-ass busy semester. I feel like I am finally coming up for air as do most of the students.

Mother Nature's installation art.
We started it all with a tornado that ripped through our community and through campus, effectively rendering a good portion the Art and Design spaces unusable, including the Museum of Art.
Up the street from my house.
We had to very quickly scramble to get a lot of things back in place to get the semester moving in the right direction. Luckily nothing was amiss over at 3D, but many of our students had been severely effected. Our chair, John House and his admin assistant, Cathy Ventura, did an amazing job keeping everyone sane and working to find new spaces for classes. Our dean's office double-timed it to get everything back in order; Deans Moser and Gillespie really did have some sleepless nights working on our behalf. However, the task is really only beginning as they continue to work to procure permanent solutions to our seemingly permanent loss of space as a department. There may be some real silver linings here, but more on that later as the plans become more official.

The biggest issue for us was finding an appropriate space for our two seniors to do their sculpture thesis. These shows had some installation aspects and we needed to make sure the space was right. Our seniors, Ashley Mell and Hillary Fairburn, did the lions share of the work in finding (and fixing up) a space and it was fraught with much stress and anxiety, but with the help of Charles Price and Kyle Goddard we really were able to make it happened. The college chipped in a bunch of funding and a raw space was transformed into a real showplace for art. 

The senior thesis show turned out amazing and we had great attendance at the reception.

Hillary Fairburn's work

Ashley Mell's work, detail

This semester we also had a faculty search for a new department chair. I can only imagine what it must have looked like to the candidates as they came in to view our program and we have no real studios, no real home, offices all crazy and all the classes tucked into any available space. Non-the-less, we had three great candidates and in the end the decision was unanimous and we selected Howard Paine, he's a digital artist and printmaker from Tennessee, formally from the Memphis College of Art. He'll be here in July and we are so very excited to work with him in rebuilding our great program.

Weirdly enough through all this tragedy I feel like we are actually stronger as a department. With the great work and support of Dean Moser and our new President, Dr. Bennett, It seems we are really poised to grow and expand. The sculpture area is doing well too. We will have a lean semester or two in the upper level classes but then we have quite a few new majors starting up with us next fall. Very exciting! Some of these folks are really talented and I cant wait to work with them. So much potential!

For June we will have upper level ceramics studio classes in the mornings and then in the afternoons we will have a chair design and construction class in the wood shop. It will be a busy and hectic time but it also be exciting and probably move way to quickly!