Master Sculptor and Collagist
David Giese, retiring art professor with the College of Art and Architecture, is known for his unique artistry in sculpting and collaging and for helping to bring the Mardi Gras celebration to downtown Moscow. Now after 36 years of teaching at the University of Idaho, Giese and alumni are creating a named endowed fellowship in honor of his time here and his retirement.
A master sculptor and collagist, whose style is internationally-famous and chronicled in the work and catalog, “Plunder of the Past, Excavations from La Villa Bitricci,” Giese says his experience at the University of Idaho also has benefited his craft.
“When you’re in an educational situation, you’re here to help students develop their own voice,” says Giese. “Education, especially in the studio, is a process in which you learn by doing.”
Giese came to the University of Idaho in 1977 as the then-department of art and architecture’s professor for foundation design.
“A lot of students felt their experience with me, especially when I was teaching foundations, was very valuable and that it wasn’t a course; it was design boot camp, and it was hard,” says Giese. “They came away with a real great skill set. The ability to think about something in relations to content – versus just technique – is extremely important.”
Giese incorporates the need for critical thinking and problem-solving skills in his curriculum through an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students for today’s workplace.
“The foundation of the College of Art and Architecture is based on the fact that regardless of a students’ major in the college, be it fine art, landscape design, interior design or architecture, they will learn to solve problems visually,” says Giese.
“The reality of the workplace is interdisciplinary and students, if they hope to succeed, regardless of what they do, are going to have to deal with the dialogue of people from different backgrounds – especially in the fields represented by the College of Art and Architecture.”
As a retirement gift to the university, Giese has created an endowed fellowship that will carry his legacy of interdisciplinary study within the college. The fellowship will support the costs to bring visiting artists or designers to campus for several weeks at a time to work with a class or teach a workshop. The only criteria for use of these endowed funds are that each visiting artist’s or designer’s work must be interdisciplinary by nature.
“The fellowship will be a vehicle to aid students and faculty to have a pulse on what is really happening,” says Giese. “And through the evolution of this fellowship, it will be tapping resources of not just historical but very contemporary issues.”
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