School of Art News
STACY ELKO - In Memoriam
The School of Art mourns the passing of Stacy Elko, Associate Professor of Printmaking, on August 26, 2020. Stacy joined the faculty of the School of Art in 2005. In addition to teaching and mentoring students in printmaking, drawing, and video/transmedia, she also served as MFA Coordinator and engaged in research with collaborators from across the nation. A multi-dimensional artist, her work stretched beyond printmaking to embrace time-based media, music, and performance art, as well as interactive environments that were epitomized in her sculptural airships, "Flying Machines."
Always filled with surprises and mischief, Stacy challenged, questioned, provoked, and amused, frequently all at the same time. Professor of Photography Robin Germany recalls that "Stacy embodied all the things I love about the School of Art, the unexpectedness and unpredictability. She showed up at the last School of Art Zoom Happy Hour this spring and performed a Julia Child-style demonstration of creating an Aperol spritz."
Stacy took special pride in her work with an interdisciplinary research team to create a tablet-based application that would enable persons with aphasia—a language and cognition disorder that frequently appears after a stroke—to communicate with healthcare providers and other clinicians. This application, known as the Visual Interactive Narrative Intervention, or VINI, united Stacy's three great passions—her love of the digital interface and its gaming aspects, her extensive artistic background and talent, and her belief that the arts as a whole have meaningful and useful contributions to make through interdisciplinary collaborations that improve lives and quality of life. Her pathbreaking work on this project was a critical component in the college's award of its first major federal grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab.
The School of Art has a new director!
Dane Webster comes to us from the University of Colorado Denver, where he was the Director of the Digital Animation Center (DAC) program and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Arts and Media. Previously he was at Virginia Tech for 12 years, where he started their 3D computer animation program within the School of Visual Arts. While there, he also created and served as Director of the MFA in Creative Technologies and was a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology which promotes research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science.
Dane has extensive experience in administration, fundraising, technology and both international and interdisciplinary collaboration. His artwork and short films have been shown in juried art exhibitions and highly competitive short film venues. His visualizations helped raise funds for $100 million in building projects at Virginia Tech, have been viewed over 110,000 times, primarily by students learning about a Native American settlement in Virginia, and have been shown as part of an interactive app at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. He is a photographer, animator, visualizer, and creative coder.
"I focus on the notion that, by their very design, universities hold a transdisciplinary conference on their campuses every single day. In addition to working with other artists, I have collaborated with researchers in computer science, music, math, mechanical engineering, disaster science, history, weather, social science, and education. This is my intellectual community and scholarly context."
"I have thought often of my last night in Lubbock during my campus visit, sitting in a restaurant around a large dinner table, talking with many of the School of Art faculty about the past, present, and a possible future. That night put the hook in me, leaving me feeling humbled at the thought of being welcomed by such an impressive group of artists, designers, scholars, and professionals; and also very excited about what new steps we all might take together."
At Texas Tech University, Dane will coordinate and guide all aspects of the School of Art in collaboration with the faculty and the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts. During this very exciting time for both the School of Art and the College, Dane's experience and vision will complement our strategic initiatives and help us all to raise the profile of the School and College nationally and internationally. He will help us create partnerships with other institutions, broaden our recruiting of high quality students and faculty, as well as lift the visibility of the School of Art's faculty and alumni. Please join us in welcoming Dane Webster to his new position at Texas Tech!