The Art Department’s Illustration program underwent various changes this year including position changes, new faculty and program restructuring.
The program’s former area coordinator was laid off last year, which resulted in full-time Professor Steven Brower filling the position.
In addition to his new title, Brower is already the director of the “Get Your Masters with the Masters” MFA program in Graphic Design and Illustration. He also teaches Graphic Design and Illustration courses within the undergraduate and graduate programs.
“It was actually a natural fit because the philosophy of that program [“Get Your Masters with the Masters”] is unique in the entire country,” Brower said. “It [the Masters program] combines the two disciplines as much as possible, design and illustration.”
According to Brower, the two disciplines really are combined, so students are being prepared for their professional careers. Illustrators and designers are better off career-wise if they have knowledge in both areas, he said.
In order for students to get this combined experience, Brower decided to bring in new, experienced professionals to teach, essentially changing the structure of the program.
MFA Alumnae Megan Halsey and Melanie Hall, who are teaching Intermediate Illustration, are new faculty members. Both are top children’s book illustrators with over 80 books published between the two of them.
Other additions to the staff include Vince Bonavoglia, a recent graduate from the MFA program, and professional Illustrator Bill Yermal. Bonavoglia is bringing his interest in comic books and character design to the classroom, while Yermal has digital expertise.
Next semester, Dennis Corrigan, who is already a full-time faculty member in the Art Department, will be teaching painting for illustration.
“They’re getting a wide variety of different instructors all with professional experience,” Brower said.
Brower said the changes made to the department this year are beneficial.
“Lynn Pauley, who was the area head before, is a professional illustrator,” he said. “But the structure was different because she was hired to teach almost all the Illustration classes, so they weren’t getting as wide a variety of different points of view, which I think is very important.”
For Brower, the new title means more courses to teach and more students to advise between the undergraduate and graduate programs. He said he was dubious about the extra workload at first, but feels more enthused now.
“I think it’s going to be really rewarding. I’m teaching the sophomores and after a month into the first class, I’m already seeing a difference,” he said. “I have no doubt that amazing work is going to come out of the program.”
Kira Karbowski, a sophomore Illustration major, said she felt the transition is being handled well.
“I like it. I get to do more of my own spin on things while following the project details,” she said.