Art and Art History Alumni Gathering at Chihuly Garden

a group of students and staff in a well-apointed conference room

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by College of Fine and Performing Arts Staff

Every year, Professor of Art History Julia Sapin takes the capstone Art History 475 students to Seattle to meet with alumni. This year was extra special: they gathered at Chihuly Garden and Glass ("CGG") on Monday, April 15.

Western has a number of alumni from both the Art History and Art Studio programs working at CGG.

The alums at CGG ended up inviting our group of 14 students, two alumni, and two staff to be their guests at the museum, and they catered the event to boot!

Organized by Operations Manager Mickie Nowinski (who graduated from Western with a degree in French) and our recent grad Lenin Arguelles (Art History '23), students and staff took the van down, driven by our trusted Studio Tech Doug Loewen.

When the group arrived, they were met by Lenin, as well as Carson McCully (Class of '23 and the College of Fine and Performing Arts Presidential Scholar). McCully has a new job as a Public Engagement Associate at Seattle Art Museum.

Our alum greeters also included Emily Zach Freidenrich, who was our Outstanding Graduate in 2012, now working at Amazon.

Lenin toured the group through the exhibitions inside, and the garden outside (the sun coming out just in time for some lovely pictures). They were also treated to a glass-blowing demonstration, which was narrated by yet another Western alum, Matt Barker.

Thereafter, they gathered in the office space called the HUB, where the hosts had laid out a beautiful spread of cookies, fruit, and a variety of beverages—all kinds of seltzers and a deluxe Keurig machine that could make any kind of coffee or tea you had in mind. The alums gave presentations about their paths after graduation, and offered advice.

After the Western alums shared their thoughts and experiences post-graduation, the CGG staff also chimed in. Mickie and Ashly McBride (Art Studio BFA, '20) - who works as the Art and Maintenance Supervisor at CGG, and Evelyn Miller - another Art Studio grad, offered their advice and tips to these Art History soon-to-be graduates.

The warm reception and familiar faces made the current students feel quite at home. They were freely asking questions of their hosts, and at the end of the Q&A session mingled casually with the CGG staff, which included CGG Assistant Director Taryn Coles.

Exhibition Manager Sherrie Newman was there as well and offering her support Assistant Director Coles said that, with the presence of so many Western grads at CGG, she had come to notice something particular about them as a group: they are always striving to learn and find ways to contribute, without fear of seeming ignorant or otherwise not “in the know.”

Just as the Western Art History students were leaving, CGG Operations Manager Mickie Nowinski said they had just that day hired another Western grad - Erin Kelly (Art History/Psychology, '23).

The CGG hosts and Western alums were presented with some lovely little gifts provided by the Alumni Association packed the up in blue bags with blue and white tissue paper.

Authored on

Apr 18, 2024 4:34pm