Message from The Chair
Don’t forget to celebrate JUNETEENTH tomorrow!
June 18, 2021
What is Juneteenth? It is a celebration of resiliency, freedom, and equality. On June 19, 1865 (156 YEARS ago, 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation!!) enslaved communities were given agency over their lives. Things have moved slowly and not necessarily progressively since that day. Battles in legislation to limit our Black citizens from everything from voting to education and beyond have kept a status quo of inequality. 156 years is a long time and while nothing happens overnight it is time that things accelerate. Both a Federal commitment today to Juneteenth as a holiday and the state of Washington’s commitment to the nineteenth of June as a holiday (beginning June 2022) is a commitment to not forgetting the atrocities that slavery brought upon our black citizens. A holiday such as Juneteenth is an opportunity for Americans, students, teachers and people of all backgrounds to recognize a past of slavery that should have never happened, celebrate the initial commitment to freedom, and to reconcile with the subsequent inequalities that slavery has systemically and disproportionately brought our black communities. Please toast with us on the nineteenth and reflect on all the things we can do to bring more equality to our future. Let’s go Cougs!
January 7th, 2021
Hello again Fine Arts Cougs!
In that a letter from me was posted yesterday before the insurrectionist assault on the U.S. Capitol, I feel compelled to reach out again today. I want to amend yesterday’s letter as these are not interesting or entertaining moments in American history but rather evidence of disease in this country that needs healing. Anti-racism, and cultural inclusion remain at the center of what we stand for as a department.
The visual stimulus of yesterday served as a severe reminder of the fragility of democracy and the essential nature of a wholistic education that creates critical and compassionate thinkers. Future members of our community who are capable of recognizing and responding to racism, violence, and destruction. Visual literacy is at the center of what we do here in Fine Arts. The signs and signifiers associated in this insurrection echo many scary moments in the history of the world. Moments such as these threaten the very core of humanity, democracy and what it means to exercise free speech and the responsibility to exercise that speech respectfully and peacefully. Speech must not be allowed to lead to such destruction that is founded in white supremacy and hate.
I personally renew my commitment to educate our future citizens in this respect. This department and university deeply value the luxury we have as Americans to engage in civil, thoughtful and kind discourse around all that impacts humanity. Please join me in renewing our commitments to each other. Enough is enough.
Hello Fine Arts Cougs!
What an interesting time we are living in. To say I am proud of how careful and thoughtful our entire community has been over the last semester and a half is a grandiose understatement!
The Department of Fine Arts has remained creative and dynamic in fostering an environment for our students to continue their studies. We continue to provide high quality visiting artist programming and students continue to generate new artworks and experiences that speak to our times. Please take a moment to join one of our Instagram streams with @wsufinearts, @wsuphotoworks, @wsudigifablab or @concept.clay. In these spaces you will be sure to catch many of these adventures. You may also wish to watch the link at the bottom of our main page for zoom webinars. Looking forward to spring semester I know there will be ongoing programming and you won’t want to miss all the sharing of work that comes around graduation.
As we weather this storm together, I want to remind ALL of you to practice empathy and compassion toward one another. If you are a student experiencing financial difficulties, we encourage you to call the Office of the Dean of Students and inquire about its Student Emergency Fund (509-335-5757 or email@example.com). We also encourage you to stay in touch with your classmates and your professors––make sure you communicate with your professors! This is of utmost importance.
Even though we are all distanced in physicality it remains important to connect. Fortunately, we live in a digital age where we may still share our stories and converse. Fine Arts prides itself in its creative spirit and I encourage you to take advantage of your creativity and find ways to maintain our human connection via online portals such as Zoom, Facetime or your preferred digital interface.
If you would like to meet with me via Zoom, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set up a time.
Please stay home, be kind and stay safe!
Thank you and ok,
Squeak Meisel (he, his, him)
Chair, Department of Fine Arts
Washington State University is located on the ceded lands of the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) Tribe and the traditional homelands of the Palus Band of Indians. We acknowledge their presence here since time immemorial and recognize their continuing connection to the land, to the water, and to their ancestors.