Dear Alumni and Friends,
Greetings from the William & Mary Department of Art & Art History. After an atypical year (to say the least), we are very excited to have returned to in-person teaching this fall! One thing we learned from last year is how wonderful it is to share our events virtually with our community beyond campus. We look forward to presenting more virtual programming whenever possible in the future, in conjunction with our in-person events.
As the global pandemic continues, it is with a heavy heart that we announce we will not be hosting our annual Homecoming departmental gathering this year. We made this decision because we feel it is vital to protect the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. And so we will truly miss seeing all of you in person this year, but look forward to a return to normal next fall! And now I’m excited to catch you up on departmental news and to alert you to a few current and upcoming events.
A few highlights from our past year.
In the spring, our Art History course, The Curatorial Project installed their exhibition, The Art of Well-Being at The Muscarelle Museum of Art. Images of the installation, catalogue, and exhibition are viewable via the virtual component, The Making of The Art of Well-Being, where you can catch a behind-the-scenes look at the work our faculty and students put into making this show a reality. We appreciate our strong partnership with the Muscarelle, and thank them for hosting the exhibition for the 3rd year in a row.
Spring also brought our Art History concentrators together for the 3rd Annual Senior Research Colloquium, the capstone experience for these students. The Colloquium was launched by a keynote lecture, "The Future of Winckelmann's Classical Form: Walter Pater and Frederic Leighton" by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn, University of York, UK. You can watch the students’ presentations and learn more about their projects on our website—both The Curatorial Project and Senior Research Colloquium are on view on our new Art History Student Research Archive page.
Studio Art concentrators kicked off their spring semester with an in-person/online hybrid exhibition in March, followed by their Capstone Senior Exhibition, Collective Imagination in May. You can view the works of all our studio concentrators from the class of 2021 on our website—both senior exhibitions are on view on our new Studio Art Student Research Archive page.
Spring was a bustling semester, which also included our annual Non-Majors Exhibition, an Honors Exhibition in photography, and the Architecture Alumni Exhibition, 30 Years of Architecture at W&M: 1991-2021 Alumni. This last exhibition was organized in conjunction with the retirement of Ed Pease, who taught Architecture at William & Mary for the past 30 years.
Along with this exhibition, we welcomed back architect Zena Howard, a Principal and Managing Director of the North Carolina practice of global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will for a virtual Distinguished Lecture. We remain grateful to the family of our late anonymous donor for their continued support of our Annual Distinguished Lecture Series.
While our departmental celebration was virtual, our graduates were able to walk and have their names read in person as part of a larger Arts & Sciences graduation event at Zable Stadium.
Our undergraduate class of 2021 included one Phi Beta Kappa inductee, two Monroe Scholar Award recipients, one Mortar Board Honors recipient, and three Senior Departmental Honors Theses as well as awardees of the Catron Scholarship and the Woody Internship. Congratulations to our students on their many and varied achievements.
As noted above, this past year saw a flurry of exhibitions, lectures, and other events, many of which would not have been possible without the generous support of our alumni and friends. In particular, I would like to recognize two generous gifts made last year by William & Mary alumnus, Kevin McDonald ’94, establishing our Art History Innovation Fund and Studio Art Innovation Fund. These funds are already helping make possible the wonderful work being done by our students and faculty—and we are so grateful.
We continue to enhance our students’ educational experience through invited speaker events and expanded hands-on and professional opportunities. Some of these field activities are currently still on pause, but we look forward to resuming our full programming as soon as possible.
This fall we welcomed Lisa Elmaleh’s return for a tin-type photography workshop on October 5, and Greta Pratt’s solo photography exhibition which will be on view in the Andrews Gallery October 8 to November 18.
We also look forward to a guest lecture by photographer Cara Romero and a guest workshop and lecture by ceramicist Diego Romero. Both artists are hosted by The Muscarelle Museum of Art, and we are grateful to the Museum for making these opportunities available to our students and faculty. Cara’s photographs are on view through January 9th at the Muscarelle as part of their exhibition, Shared Ideologies.
Finally, we are pleased to be running the course Ceremonial Vessel Project, taught by Michael Gaynes this fall. This course was developed to design a wood-burning vessel that will become part of campus’s Memorial to the Enslaved. Students in this course will design their own proposals for the vessel, organize a community-wide competition in which they will assist community members in developing their own proposals, and organize (with the help of the Center for the Liberal Arts) an end-of-semester showcase for judging.
We look forward to spring programming including our Capstone Senior Exhibition, Curatorial Project Exhibition, and Senior Research Colloquium. We are also delighted to announce that Professor Eugene Y. Wang, Harvard University's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art at the Department of History of Art & Architecture, will be our Distinguished Lecturer, in connection with William & Mary’s Asian Centennial celebration. Details are forthcoming.
Please check our most recent faculty news about new publications, awards, and exhibitions. While we will truly miss Ed Pease’s presence in our department, we are honored to welcome him to our community of Emeritus faculty. Edwin Pease received his bachelor’s from North Carolina State University and his Master of Architecture from Virginia Tech University. He taught Architecture at William & Mary since 1991. Throughout his teaching career, Professor Pease has remained a practicing architect. His work includes museums, museum exhibitions, preservation work, and municipal buildings. Professor Pease’s career has been celebrated with numerous national and international awards and prizes. Locally, he is perhaps best known for his firm’s design of the Stryker Center municipal building, completed in 2016. Professor Pease’s students have flourished. Nearly 80 of his students have earned Masters of Architecture from prestigious institutions, including Harvard University, Yale University, and Rhode Island School of Design. While Professor Pease served on several university initiatives, his work on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is of special significance. The Building Committee for the Memorial to the Enslaved Workers at William & Mary and the Lemon Project Committee on Memorialization—which he co-chaired from 2016 until his retirement—illustrate his commitment. In addition to his own and his students’ successes, Professor Pease is respected by his colleagues for his eagerness to volunteer for any committee or activity, his steadfast commitment to his students and department, and his genuine humility and grace—which inspires us all.
Our faculty and staff are also engaged in exciting projects. Our technician, Michael Draeger’s latest project is installed on JMU’s campus through 2024. Elizabeth Mead’s exhibition, Fictional Reality: The Photograph and Its Object opens at the Rawls Museum on October 8, and … see many more of our activities on our Faculty News site.
Please stay in touch and continue to send in your latest news and whereabouts. Alumni, if you haven’t already, please connect with us on LinkedIn (Art History alumni & Studio Art alumni have their own LinkedIn group accounts). Also, see some of the incredible achievements of our alumni. We are always delighted to hear from our community of alumni and friends. Our current and prospective students are especially eager to learn about your stories and the variety of careers many of you have embarked on, continued with, or retired from. Your enthusiasm and support are part of what makes this an exciting department for our faculty and students.
With all best wishes,
Chair, Department of Art & Art History