August 25, 2023
As a new academic year begins, I want to extend a heartfelt welcome to you all. I hope summer rewarded you with restoration, reflection and adventure, and that you feel energized to dig into the work ahead. To those who are new to CIA, I want to extend a special welcome! We are privileged to share in each other’s company as we write our next chapter together.
This summer marked the end of my first year as President + CEO, and it brought me great joy to reflect on our collective successes, learn from our shortcomings so that we can improve, and work to determine priorities for this academic year in alignment with our strategic plan. I shared some highlights from the past year in a recent press article and look forward to the work ahead to support student success and retention, cultivate creative leaders, advance our college and strengthen our community.
We had a very busy and productive summer at CIA.
We made substantial progress on the planning of our Interactive Media Lab. The IML—slated to open in spring 2025 in the Cleveland Foundation’s MidTown Collaboration Center—will not only serve as a hub for arts, design and technology, but will potentially be one of the most catalytic community engagement initiatives in the CIA’s history. A micro-site about the project has now launched, and you can even view the construction progress on the MidTown Collaboration Center here.
We also made progress on two of Student Leadership Council's highest priorities from last year: improving on-campus food options and creating an outdoor collaborative space. If you're hungry, visit Stone Flower Cafe’s new Market Twenty 4 Seven, a self-serve market that offers fresh food and snacks anytime CIA is open. In addition, “Grafton’s Garden,” a gathering space that will be built outside of Entrance B, is now in its final schematic design phase. Construction should begin this fall, and the space is expected to open this spring. I'm particularly grateful for SLC’s input and collaboration on these projects.
Other summer highlights:
All of what happened this summer gives us much to look forward to, but of course, there’s plenty more to be excited about. Most notably, I’m thrilled to welcome our incoming class of 151 students, many of whom I met during Convocation. I hope your first week at CIA has been everything you hoped it would be.
Please mark your calendar to join me for one of my favorite annual traditions, the Faculty Exhibition. A public opening reception will be held from 6 to 8pm Thursday, August 31 in CIA’s Reinberger Gallery. Attending the exhibition and reception are great ways to get to know our faculty beyond the classroom, through their work as esteemed artists, designers and scholars. The same can be said for the Studio Operations Exhibition, which opens that same night in the Ann and Norman Roulet Student + Alumni Gallery.
I also invite you to take part in our Lunch on Fridays lecture series, take advantage of CIA community-discounted tickets at the Cinematheque, engage in a plethora of student activities, and enjoy the extension of CIA’s campus that is the City of Cleveland.
As we all reconvene to start another year together, I hope we can reinforce our values in all that we do, and also always uphold our actions with mutual respect, civility and empathy. For those of you that are new to our community, these values—alongside our newly minted mission, vision and strategic goals—came out of a comprehensive planning process, culminating in a 2020–2027 Strategic Plan. I invite you to be a key stakeholder in our future and look forward to continuing the great work we are doing together.
Speaking of work we do together, I want to acknowledge and address the August 15 cleveland.com article regarding a lawsuit filed by a former student. The suit accuses CIA of failing to properly address the student’s accusations of sexual assault against a fellow student, and in light of those accusations, questions and concerns have arisen.
To cultivate creative leaders who inspire people, strengthen communities, and contribute to a thriving and sustainable economy through an innovative education in art and design.
The global community is engaged and enriched by art and design.