With the MFA and BFA Exhibitions down and the 2018 Commencement ceremony behind us, it’s time for a little recap and reflection. Last week was an eventful one at SFAI. In case you missed it, here are a few highlights and key takeaways:
SFAI’s 2018 MFA Exhibition opened last week to a throng of bay area art fans and supporters. Upon entering the space, visitors were greeted by a two-story work of woodcut and print art by Kate Laster. The piece stretched from the floor, past the second-floor balcony, and up to the ceiling in the shape of a cabin.
The Weight Of Those We Must Carry With Us by Kate Laster. Photo by Drew Altizer Photography.
Farther into the exhibition, viewers entered galleries and studios full of multimedia works, sculpture, paintings, photographs, and installation pieces.
The Swimming Pool by Elena Padrón Martín. Photo by Fort Mason Center.
Artwork by Yin Qin. Photo by Hewitt Photography.
Artwork by Ian Mitchell Wallace. Photo by Hewitt Photography
Artwork by Henry Chambers. Photo by Hewitt Photography.
This year’s Commencement ceremony was, in typical SFAI fashion, fun, creative, and inspirational. Mildred Howard was awarded the Douglas G. MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award for her work as an artist, activist, and educator in the Bay Area. A highly visible figure in the landscape of Bay Area public art, Howard spoke of drawing inspiration from our environment and people on the street and encouraged future artists to approach their work and communities with empathy.
Mildred Howard receiving the Douglas G. MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award. Photo by Hewitt Photography.
After Mildred Howard spoke, Dean of Students Jennifer Rissler announced student award recipients, and graduating students stood to show support for their classmates, M. Roa (BFA), and Vasudhaa Narayanan (MFA), who took to the stage to speak of their time at SFAI and what they learned and hope for the future.
“What we have learned here cannot be standardized…. Our school is where you are awakened.” — M. Roa, BFA 2018
“Today we will graduate as a group of change-makers, educators, entrepreneurs, and of course, artists, and we have a huge role and responsibility in recognizing how we inform and educate the future generations to come.” — Vasudhaa Narayanan, MFA 2018
Then, History + Theory of Contemporary Art professor Nicole Archer explained that art requires people to ask the “wrong” questions, and that’s what makes it so valuable. She explained that it forces us to question the status quo and re-evaluate and confront truth. She encouraged students to create art that raises questions and challenges how people think.
Kehinde Wiley. Image from a post shared by SFAI w/TARAVAT TALEPASAND (@sfaitaravat)
Finally, upon receiving his Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, renowned painter and SFAI alum Kehinde Wiley addressed the graduating class of 2018. He reflected on his own journey from SFAI to the White House and advised students to work hard and stay true to themselves and their unique creative voices.
Then, it was finally time for the graduates to cross the stage and get their degrees. As a small school that doesn’t require students to wear gowns at commencement, the recession was anything but long and boring. The graduating students, free to choose how they wanted to represent themselves on the graduation stage, wore an array of costumes, ranging from more traditional gowns (with an art-school spin, of course), to jeans and t-shirts, to three-piece suits with full clown makeup. Some students carried small dogs across the stage, and one even received their diploma with a lizard draped over their shoulder. The overall effect was spectacular and very unique to SFAI.
SFAI’s BFA Exhibition opened on May 13th to a huge audience of students, parents, faculty, staff, press, and community members. Before you even entered the front courtyard, you could see the exhibition on SFAI’s tower.
Upon entering, visitors could wander through hallways and studios full of video, installation, painting, photography, sculpture, books and sound.
Artwork by Gracie CT. Photo by Alex Peterson.
Artwork by Diana Martinez. Photo by Alex Peterson.
Artwork by Danielle Mellen. Photo by Alex Peterson.
Best In Show was awarded to Galeana Fraiz for her painting and installation work.
Congratulations to the class of 2018!