A Note from Jamie Walker

It is my pleasure to introduce you to our graduate students in Art, Art History, and Design, Class of 2020. These nineteen MFA, MA, and MDes candidates converged in Seattle from multiple points of origin eager and somewhat apprehensive to begin the unknown challenges and rewards of graduate school. The all-consuming focus of their time on campus has been centered on the content and conversations generated through their coursework, interactions with faculty, staff, and visitors — and perhaps most importantly — each other. The relentless pace of taking classes, participating in presentations and critiques, submitting papers, and sharing their knowledge and experience as colleagues and teachers was punctuated with times of individual thought and quiet reflection. Whether in the studio, library, or office, the common graduate experience is one replete with inspiration and obstacles, doubts and revelations, and an endless stream of questions.

In a typical year, by the end of winter, the graduate students have committed to their thesis and begun to intently focus on completing their work. It can be a rich and rewarding time as ideas take form and identity matures. The spaces, habits, tools, and support structures that have been established up to this point are second nature and provide a level of comfort and confidence as deadlines approach. But suddenly this year was far from typical, the pathway was disrupted, first by COVID-19 and then by the social upheaval brought about by the killing of George Floyd and the resulting demands to address pervasive and violent racism after centuries of neglect. Classes were canceled, the Art Building was closed, and our Spring quarter was taught online. The MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery was postponed for the first time since its inception in 1958. The perseverance of these graduate students has been remarkable as they have overcome innumerable obstacles to carry forth their work in ways unimagined just a few months ago.

I would like to acknowledge the support and mentorship offered by our faculty and staff to provide an educational environment where our graduate students could thrive. I would also like to thank Heidi Biggs, Naz Cuguoğlu, James Harris, and Robert Yoder for their salient interviews with the grads in art and design.

I encourage you to peruse this online showcase and explore how each graduate student transformed their experience into a distinct body of research that reflects and addresses the opportunities, challenges, wonder, confusion, and joy of the world we all inhabit.

We applaud the determination and excellence evinced by the degrees earned by our students. As these artists, scholars, and designers navigate the next stage of their journey, they carry with them a sense of achievement and assurance that will serve them well in their future endeavors.

On behalf of the School of Art + Art History + Design, congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Jamie Walker, Director
Wyckoff Milliman Endowed Chair in Art
School of Art + Art History + Design

A Note from Sylvia Wolf

The Henry Art Gallery and the University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design have a history of over 60 years of partnering in presenting the work of graduating master’s degree students. The Henry’s presentation of the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) + Master of Design (MDes) Thesis Exhibition is a hallmark of our commitment to supporting artistic innovation and a culture of creativity campus-wide.

Each year, it is a pleasure and a privilege to celebrate the achievements of graduates in Art and Design. We only wish we could have worked with you, as in the past, on bringing your art to life at the Henry. With the museum closed during Seattle’s period of quarantine to combat the coronavirus, we feel the absence of that exciting experience of students partnering with our professional staff and crew on the installation of their work in our galleries. We hope that a year from now, you will join the next graduating class for the presentation of the 2020/2021 MFA + MDes Thesis Exhibition at the Henry.

In the meantime, we applaud this year’s graduates for their art, design, and academic accomplishments, and we wish them the very best as they launch their careers.

Congratulations to the 2020 recipients of the School of Art + Art History + Design’s Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design degrees!

Sylvia Wolf, John S. Behnke Director
Henry Art Gallery