department news


Event: Place/Performance/Identity Symposium, Jan 25-26 EMU Student Center

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EMU School of Art & Design is pleased to announce a multi-day new symposium: Place/Performance/Identity, January 25-26. 

Details on the event, including a schedule and downloadable program is here.

Registration for this event is strongly encouraged.  Click here.

EMU Student Center January 25-January 26.


EMU at the Riverside Arts Center. Reception on Friday, October 5th from 6 - 10 pm for Carol Hanna, Arthur "Rocky" Rockall and Ellen Wilt

These three artists include two of our past graduate students and a Professor Emeritus of Art.  Just as artworks for the art school range greatly in style and presentation, so do the works in this group exhibition including: mixed media sculptural works, prints, representational and abstract paintings.

 Carol Hanna:   

BS Bus.Ad. from Eastern Michigan University 1971, BFA from Eastern Michigan University 2003, MA from Eastern Michigan University 2011 

Arthur "Rocky" Rockall:

Associate's Degree from Schoolcraft College. BA from Wayne State University. MA from Eastern Michigan University.

Ellen Wilt:

BFA from the University of Michigan 1969. MA from the University of Michigan 1970.  

Professor Emeritus of Art at Eastern Michigan University, where she taught for 17 years (1969 - 1985).

This EMU exhibit will also be on display during the annual Riverside Arts Center event "Fall for Arts" on Saturday, October 13th starting at 7pm.  Please contact for tickets.


Masters of Art and Design Association Spring Studio Tour

On March 15th, 2018, the Masters of Art and Design Association (Formerly the Arts Masters Association or AMA) held a tour of studio spaces across campus. The evening included not only displays of current and in progress work by graduate students in Drawing, Printmaking, Metalsmithing, Fibers, Graphic Design and Ceramics, but also many demonstrations. Visitors were able to watch screen printing and take home a limited edition print designed specially for the event and were able to try a variety of handbuilding techniques in ceramics. The evening ended with the grand finale of a bronze pour lead by Prof. Brian Nelson in the Sculpture studio.

The MADA will be hosting a Studio Tour again this fall semester, date and time for the event will be posted soon.


Prof. Furguson Wins Manifest Grand Jury Prize

Jason Furguson's 2017 piece, "Anamorph" won Manifest Gallery's 1st Annual Grand Jury Prize. The cash award for this prize is $2,500. The Prize featured a pool of 40 finalist works by 38 artists, representing 30 different exhibitions. Out of 40 finalists for the Prize a two-stage jury of sixteen arts professionals from across the U.S. selected the winning work.


Re-branding of Riverside Art Center

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Leslie Atzmon and Ryan Molloy, along with graphic design students were gifted the Sappi Paper Ideas that Matter Grant to re-brand the Riverside Art Center into a community art hub for Ypsilanti, Mi. This project included the creation of a 'Toolkit' with 48 creative projects for local youth and their families. The project ran from Oct. 2017- Apr. 2018.


Faculty Retirements

It is with heartfelt thank yous that we say goodbye to four esteemed faculty members this spring. All of them have been assets not only to the School of Art & Design, but to the greater art community as well.

Dr. Grechen Otto
 is retiring after over 30 years of teaching metalsmithing here at EMU. A graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Dr. Otto had not only made extraordinary work (see faculty artwork tab) but also hosted regional metals shows and mentored many graduate students.
Diana Pancioli
is retiring after over 25 years in the ceramics department here at EMU. A graduate of Alfred University, her dedicated focus on functional craft will be missed. In 2016, Pancioli hosted 'After All These Years...' an international show of functional ceramics. 
Dr. Ellen Shwartz
 is retiring after over 40 years teaching art history here at EMU. Her scholarly focus is on Byzantine art, and she has numerous publications on that topic.
Tom Venner
 is retiring after over 20 years at EMU, in his tenure here he has taught ceramics as well as serving as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.


Fall Graduate School Open House

Saturday, Oct. 20th, 10:00am to 12:00pm in the Student Center
(Check in at 9:45)
For more information, contact:

Admissions Visit Programs
Eastern Michigan University
220 EMU Student Center


School of Art and Design Professor John DeHoog Wins First Prize Award at Midland Center for the Arts Annual Exhibition

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Professor John DeHoog was awarded First Prize at the Midland Center for the Arts Annual Greater Michigan Art Exhibition for a cabinet/sculpture entitled Abnormal Growth.  The exhibit was juried by Jason Franz, founder and chief curator of Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati and runs through November 5, 2017.  John was also awarded the Phil Chmura Memorial Award at the Muskegon Museum of Art's 2017 Michigan Regional Exhibition for a sculpture entitled, Stepper and Wrecker.  It runs through November 8, 2017.


EMU Furniture Design Students Exhibit at ICFF New York

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Eastern Michigan University students among select group to exhibit works at North America's top contemporary furniture design fair

The EMU display included a freeform bent wood davenport, a meticulously crafted dining chair, a sculptural chair featuring pyrography, a reclaimed walnut coffee table, and a pair of juvenile stools with special features for children to play with.

A group of Eastern Michigan University students joined 14 other universities participating this spring in one of North America’s most prestigious furniture design events—the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, held in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

For EMU graduate student Laura Earle, it was a singular thrill of her artistic lifetime. She displayed a variety of her highly creative designs, received great feedback, and also met Wendell Castle—whom she calls “the Paul McCartney of furniture design.”

EMU furniture design studentsBack Row: Lorena Ganser, Undergraduate Student, Drawing and Painting; Laura Earle, Graduate Student, Furniture Design; Melissa Judd, Recent EMU Alumna, Furniture Design. Front Row: Sara Steenbergh, Continuing Education, Furniture Design; Taj Ali, Recent EMU Alum, Furniture Design. Not pictured: Dulce Morales, Undergraduate Student, Furniture Design; Esraa Malky, Graduate Student, Interior Design.

Earle, a graduate student in the furniture design program in the EMU School of Art & Design, spearheaded the trip for the group, which included two introductory students, a continuing education student and two recent graduates.

Attendees included Lorena Ganser, an undergraduate student concentrating in drawing and painting; Dulce Morales, an undergraduate in furniture design; Esraa Malky, a graduate student in interior design; Sara Steenbergh, a continuing education student in furniture design; and recent furniture design graduates Melissa Judd and Taj Ali.

“Each student shared their experience and skillset, making meaningful contributions to putting the exhibition together,” Earle said. “For example, Sara Steenbergh helped write a grant proposal. Taj Ali managed warehousing. Melissa Judd oversaw shipping. So, in addition to creating beautiful furniture to display, each student shouldered some of the administrative work to make the exhibition a success.”

Participating schools included the Rhode Island School of Design, known as one of the top art schools in the country; along with the University of Iowa, the University of Oregon, the Rochester Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech University.

The fair is billed as the premier North American global design showcase for furniture, flooring, lighting and other accessories, attracting more than 700 exhibitors and 33,000 attendees. The annual event also features a schools program, aimed at fostering emerging design talent from universities such as Eastern Michigan.

“It’s a very prestigious show,” said Sandra Murchison, director of the School of Art and Design. “Having our student work so well received at the ICFF is a real vote of confidence for the Furniture Design Program here at Eastern.”

Earle exhibited several designs, including a distinctively shaped steel chair, an accent table made of aluminum cast into walnut, and interlocking felt ottomans noted by Design Milk on its “The Best of ICFF” blog. Earle’s animatronic wall divider caught the eye of several attending hospital architects interested in discussing such an installation for children’s cancer wards. Animatronic refers to the use of robotic devices to emulate an animal, in this case fish.

furniture design fish wallAn animatronic fish wall divider, left, was among the student work exhibited in the show.

Other EMU student designs included a freeform bent wood davenport, a meticulously crafted dining chair, a sculptural chair featuring pyrography (the art of decorating wood or leather by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point), a reclaimed walnut coffee table, and a pair of juvenile stools with special features for children to play with.

The group, which stayed in a youth hostel, received financial support from the School of Art and Design and a grant from the Furniture Society, a nonprofit, educational organization headquartered in Asheville, N.C.

“It was phenomenal,” Earle says of the experience. “It was life changing for all of the students. It was very gratifying to watch their world open up.”

Earle savored her meeting with Castle, whom she calls “a rock star” of the furniture world—a legendary artist that everyone in the field knows and admires.

“We talked about converting a five-axis robotic arm for CNC milling,” Earle said of a specialized, computer-controlled milling technique the two discussed. “It was so geeky and wonderful.”

Earle, from Pittsfield Township, has a background in graphic and product design, earning her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in visual communication design and industrial design.

But, with her children grown, she began graduate studies at Eastern. She was in the interior design program at first, but took a furniture design class and was enthralled.

“I really love the sculptural element of it,” she says of her studies. “I’m enjoying myself immensely. When you hit your sweet spot, the sky’s the limit.”



The EMU School of Art & Design receives national accreditation from NASAD, the National Association of Schools of Art & Design!