September 2019 Alumni and Friends Newsletter
Welcome to fall semester 2019! I’m excited to greet new students, faculty and staff as they join the College of Art and Architecture family. This semester we have nine new hires, all of whom, I’m certain, will make impactful contributions to the college.
Hala Barakat, originally from Anabta, Palestine and raised in Amman, Jordan, comes to us from the University of South Florida. Hala was hired as an assistant professor of architecture and will cover architectural design in her courses. She believes in architecture’s ability to tell stories of civilizations, including narratives about displacement. She resists the use of architecture to serve any political agenda and feels strongly about the creation of a space as an act of advocacy. I’m incredibly excited for all of us to learn from Hala’s global perspective, and I hope the relationship is symbiotic. When I interviewed Hala for the job, she was excited to learn that acclaimed architect Jonathan Segal is an alumnus of our college. With a master’s degree in real estate development, Hala’s interested in Jonathan’s “architect as developer” model, and I hope some interesting projects will result.
Rebecca Cromwell, who’s slated to graduate this December from our Art and Design Program with a Bachelor of Arts in Art, joined the dean’s office staff as a half-time administrative assistant. Rebecca specializes in graphic design and interaction/experiential design, and she helped the college immensely as a Summer Design Days counselor the past two years.
David Griffith was hired as a research assistant professor and is teaching landscape architecture courses while conducting research for our Center for Resilient Communities. Originally from Garden Creek, Virginia, in the heart of coal-mining country, David specializes in developing observational methodologies that engage communities in taking a leading role in environmental security and community safety.
Aaron Johnson, from the small southeastern Idaho town of Preston, was recently hired as assistant professor in our Art and Design Program. Aaron is teaching courses in painting and drawing and in his free time, backpacks through the region’s wilderness where he plein air paints. Aaron’s also interested in wilderness conservation and speaks French. We both studied at Utah State University and had some of the same art professors during our tenures there. (Go Aggies!)
Lauren McCleary, a native of Lakewood, Colorado, is teaching art education courses as the newly hired clinical assistant professor in the Art Education Program, which we share with the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. In her own artistic practice, Lauren focuses on cut paper and collage. Lauren also enjoys horseback riding, birdwatching and, apparently, can make an average of nine out of 10 free throws when playing basketball. I hope to vouch for this first-hand sometime soon.
Amanda Myron, who’s been with the college since 2018, now splits her time as program coordinator for both the Interior Architecture and Design and Landscape Architecture programs. Amanda is originally from Pullman, and as I’ve gotten to know her over the past year, I’ve learned that she enjoys comedy clubs, walks in the woods with her dog, good books and picnics.
Jane Nelson is serving as temporary program coordinator for the Art and Design and Virtual Technology and Design programs. She’s lived all over the state and region and comes to us from erstad ARCHITECTS in Boise where she was part of the administrative staff. Jane has three grandkids and loves to cruise. She’s been to all the Baltic Sea countries, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Mexico, the Caribbean and Venezuela.
Rebecca Nelson — no relation to Jane, that we know of — is our new academic advisor. Rebecca is a U of I alumna, so she knows the academic ins and outs of the university. She also fits right in with the designers in our college, as she loves building things and worked as an apprentice carpenter for a local construction company for several years.
David Schmidt, the new director of our Technical Design Studio, was a furniture craftsman before joining the college and is passionate about woodworking. David also loves plants and has a year-round collection of orchids and ferns. Someday, David hopes to hike the Inca Trail in Peru — a goal we’d like to hold him to.
I’m also excited about our Interior Design Program’s change of name to Interior Architecture and Design. The change accounts for our quality curriculum, which is rooted in structural, scientific and architectural principles — and, as always, that’s sustainable and socially conscious. Program Head Rula Awwad-Rafferty and her students spent many hours on this change, and it’s a great service to the program, college, university and state, as well as the disciplines of interior design and interior architecture and design. Our students will now be even more competitive in the workforce.
When you have a chance, please introduce yourself to our new faculty and staff. And stay tuned for the latest happenings in our Interior Architecture and Design Program!
Shauna Corry, Ph.D.
College of Art and Architecture
The college will host its second annual Alumni and Career Networking Event from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the Art and Architecture South Building, at the U of I Moscow campus. We’ll be connecting our students with experienced design professionals while faculty serve as valued facilitators. The goal is to support industry leaders and alumni in meeting emerging workforce talent, and to support students in kickstarting their careers. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served and dress is business casual. Please contact us with questions and RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org!
High School Design Day on Friday, Oct. 11 is a free event that allows students in grades 9-12 to experience life as an emerging designer on U of I’s Moscow campus. Students spend the afternoon in hands-on design workshops taught by expert faculty in our on-campus studios. Dinner is included and the Best Western Plus University Inn will accommodate students and chaperones at a discounted rate if rooms are reserved by Sept. 10.
LKV Architects in Boise recently gave a generous donation to our Design-Build Program, which allows students to see projects from conception to construction in Idaho communities. The program is raising funds to build an on-campus facility where they’ll build portions of projects on site and store equipment and tools. Two of LKV’s leaders, Amber Van Ocker and Brook Thornton, are College of Art and Architecture alumni. Thank you, Amber, Brook and the entire LKV team!
We're in the News!
While some artists at Monothon were departing from their comfort zones, printmaking is right in Sonnichsen’s wheelhouse.
The University of Idaho art professor said he loves the “physical presence” of printmaking, and for the monothon, he was using everyday items as the basis of his prints, which usually involve geometric designs.
At Crow’s Shadow, Sonnichsen was using the floral shape of some non-slip bathtub traction stickers as the basis of one of his prints. Read more in the East Oregonian.
Johanna Gosse, assistant professor in our Art and Design Program, researches pioneering artists of the 1960s and how their work becomes a lens for the era’s culture and politics. Check out her video with a debut from recent art and design graduate Ethan Coy!