sfai news

May 09, 2014

End of Year Message from President Charles Desmarais

Dear Artists and Colleagues,

As we complete the last day of class of my third year as President, I write to thank you all for an extraordinary year. Your work—and your real accomplishments—are a source of pride for us all. 

Next week, as we celebrate our graduates and the heritage of this beloved institution, I hope you will join me in reflecting upon our great fortune in having found a community of mutual interest, deeply shared values, and unstinting support of one another. These are the elements that have made SFAI great, and sustained us for 143 years in the face of many challenges.

This afternoon at 4 pm in the Lecture Hall we will honor recipients of awards in all areas of study and practice. I look forward to seeing you there, and at the many other Commencement week events of the coming days.

I also want to thank all who made nominations for Commencement honors this year. There were numerous terrific ideas, and from them I made recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

I am pleased to announce that the Trustees of SFAI have elected to honor prominent New York–based painter Jack Whitten and Bay Area writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit at the Institute’s 136th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 17. The two honorees are being recognized for their outstanding achievements in shaping contemporary art, culture, and discourse—for driving public awareness of emerging issues and ideas in the visual arts. Whitten will be the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, and Solnit will be receiving the Douglas MacAgy Distinguished Achievement Award. At the ceremony, Whitten and Solnit will celebrate the graduating class of 2014 by sharing their reflections. You can find their biographies below.

To be a true educator is also to be a learner, and I have learned so much from all of you, and from my experience at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Thank you, and best wishes for next week and beyond.

Charles Desmarais