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The Latest Shout-Outs: Westphal Student, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni Achievements

Celebrate the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design in this round-up of recent accomplishments.

April 6, 2021


Program Director for the online MS in Retail & Merchandising Dr. Joseph Hancock announced the new issue “Black Lives Matter: Fashion, Style & Aesthetics” of his journal “Fashion, Style & Popular Culture,” a peer-reviewed journal specifically dedicated to the area of fashion scholarship's interfacings with popular culture. This journal was established to provide an interdisciplinary environment for fashion academics and practitioners to publish innovative scholarship in all aspects of fashion and popular culture relating to design, textiles, production, promotion, consumption and appearance-related products and services. In “Black Lives Matter: Fashion, Style & Aesthetics,” the journal is pleased to present a collection of five original full-length articles as well as a design concept, a book review and three enlightening interviews/commentaries; all centered on how fashion intimately relates to BLM. While the dominant narrative surrounding BLM remains within the context of police brutality and the social/intellectual movements associated with it, this Special Issue seeks to highlight the message of BLM and provide a unique take on it through the lens of fashion, style and aesthetics. This Special Issue of “Fashion, Style & Popular Culture” explains how fashion can help people promote social change. The electronic version of “Black Lives Matter: Fashion, Style & Aesthetics” issue 8.1 is free to access here.

Associate Professor in Visual Studies, Lewis Colburn, was awarded one of three Honorable Mentions as part of the Taouyan International Art Award for his piece "Disposable Monument II (After the Boys Who Wore Gray)." The Honorable Mention includes a prize of NTD 120,000. See Lewis Colburn's piece in the virtual walkthrough of the exhibition.

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Dean Jason Schupbach was featured in Metropolis’ “Strengthening Cities Through University Community Partnerships.” In this episode, Dean Schupbach discussed the role of anchor institutions in cities with Maria Rosario Jackson and Kathy Spiegelman. Read more here.

Visual Studies Program Director and Associate Professor, Sarah Steinwachs, and several students in Sculpture I and II will be participating in a group show, The Shape of Things. The exhibition includes faculty and students from Westphal College and opens on April 19 at the Haon Gallery, run by Interiors adjunct professor Jay Haon. Open by appointment.

Professor Emeritus Blaise Tobia is one of six CETA Arts photographers featured in the online photo magazine aCurator. The two featured b&w photos were made by Blaise Tobia during the NYC CETA Arts Project (1978-79) and the color photo is from Sicily in 2006.

Joseph Larnerd, assistant professor in Art History, has been invited to present work on his current book project to fellows at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His paper "The Work of Decorative Art" will meditate upon new ways to foreground the lives and labors of the working classes in design history.

Jennifer Morely, Associate Teaching Professor and Somatics coordinator in the Dance program, was featured on Awake TV Network’s “High Vibe Living” series on March 16, 2021. Watch the full episode here.

Ryan Schwabe, Assistant Teaching Professor of Recording Arts & Music Production, was featured in a March 18 post on WXPN-Radio's “The Key” blog about his career in music production. Schwabe was recently nominated for a Grammy for producing Baauer’s “Planet’s Mad” album. Read the full story.

Karl Fowlkes, Music Business adjunct professor, was honored as a Noisemaker by HITS Daily Double, one of the top publications in the music industry. Read more here.

Neville Vakharia, Associate Dean of Research, was invited to speak at the World Cities Cultural Forum, where he presented his research on cultural asset mapping for national and local impact to key cultural policy experts and government officials from the U.S., Europe, and Asia, bringing his research to an international audience.

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design faculty members Marc Offenbach and Toby Seay, and recent graduate Tosh Farrell, were featured in a March 26 WHYY-TV (PBS-12) “You Oughta Know” segment about the Music Industry program’s work to release an album originally recorded in Philadelphia’s iconic Sigma Sound Studios more than 50 years ago. Read the full story here.

Visual Studies Professor and Printmaking Coordinator, Jen Blazina, will be lectured to the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass on April 2. She spoke about her artwork and her process.

Research about Philadelphia's housing market, by the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, was cited in a March 30 story about higher-income parents leaving the city in search of better schools during the pandemic. Read the full story here.

Woodshop & Fabrication Facilities Manager, Joe Bartram, will be opening his work in the group show Terra Nova at Resort. Terra Nova is a group exhibition that brings together four artists, including Bartram, exploring materiality, process, land and landforms. The group exhibition at Resort will be on view from March 20 to April 30.

Max Zahniser (BARCH Architecture ‘04), adjunct faculty in the Architecture and Interiors programs, was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article for his work teaching his students to think about architectural projects as "living systems."

Meghan Cox, adjunct faculty in Visual Studies, will be exhibiting work in a solo exhibition at Undercurrent (Brooklyn) opening on April 23.

Katie Knoeringer, adjunct faculty in Visual Studies, will have her piece "Oasis" in Delaware County Community College's Contemporary Juried Exhibition. The virtual exhibition will run until April 30. Click here for more information.

Rashidah Salam, adjunct faculty in Visual Studies, was selected by guest curator, Damon Reaves from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as one of the artists to participate for the second time in the 2021 Chair Affair Philadelphia. The Chair Affair is Pathways to Housing PA's signature fundraising event. Chosen artists will take inspiration from the Philadelphia Furniture Bank (PFB) and turn it into a repurposed and reimagined chairs work of art. This year's Chair Affair will be exhibited at Cherry Street Pier in Philadelphia from April 2 to April 16. There will be a meet and greet with Pathways and artists on April 11 from 1-3 p.m. The virtual auction will be on Thursday, April 22 from 12-1 p.m. to help raise funds for operations at PFB.


Music Industry ‘08 alum Jonathan Low was recognized for his work as an engineer/mixer on Taylor Swift’s folklore, which won Album of the Year at the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

Graphic Design students, Ashley Wiederspahn, Matthew Barnett, and Anna Cushing received recognition in the Graphis New Talent Annual 2021 competition. This was a great collection of talent and creativity, resulting from extraordinary out of the box thinking. View images of their incredible projects here.

GDUSA named Graphic Design seniors An X. Bui and Luka Kimlicko (page 63) and alumna Marisa Watanabe (page 86) among Students To Watch in their 2021 feature.

Jahna Auerbach (BS Photography ‘16) is an archivist assistant at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) where she recently completed an NEH grant-funded project where visitors can interact with an online portal to learn more about artist John Rhoden. View the online portal here.

Joseph Fetterman (BARCH Architecture ‘87), executive vice president at Colliers International, and Alan Greenberger, Drexel's vice president of real estate and facilities, were quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article regarding the new locations being considered for Drexel's medical labs. Although Drexel's long-term aim is to consolidate researchers now spread across Center City and Queen's Lane campuses near the main campus in University City, in the interim the university is looking to lease 300,000 square feet of a former GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical plant in Upper Merion. Read the full story here.

Carroll A. Thomas (BS Design ‘78) joined the board of directors of MxD. Ms. Thomas retired in 2020 as director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). She currently serves on the boards of the Information Technology Innovation Foundation and the State Department Federal Credit Union. Read more here.

Art History students Lara Bros and Carter Horton will be presenting papers at the SUNY New Paltz Art History Undergraduate Symposium this April. You can virtually attend and find more information about their presentations here.

Alumna Rachel Bashore (BS Design & Merchandising ‘01) was appointed chief operating officer of Good Life Companies, one of the nation’s fastest-growing independent hybrid RIA (registered investment adviser) firms. Previously, Ms. Bashore worked for BM Technologies, Inc. (formerly BankMobile), where she led that institution’s white label compliance risk and privacy functions.

Music Industry ‘08 alumna Christianna LaBuz, director of programming for World Café Live and booker for City Winery in Center City, and Arts Administration ‘13 alum Brent Woods, the cultural affairs director of Montgomery Country Community College, were quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article regarding the potential reopening of concert venues this summer. Read the full story here.

Richelle Parham (BS Design & Merchandising ‘91), managing director of West River Group, participated as a panelist in the first installment of the Diversity and Inclusion Workshop series hosted by Licensing International. Ms. Parham also became an advisor to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick's special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) which filed for an IPO earlier in February, to raise up to $250 million. The goal of the Colin Kaepernick SPAC is to "identify a business in the consumer sector with an enterprise value north of $1 billion that will benefit from The Najafi Companies' investment and operational expertise, as well as the strategic involvement of its co-sponsor and co-chairman, Colin Kaepernick." The company's board is made up of 100% Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and has a female majority. In addition, she was a guest of a new podcast, From Potential to Powerhouse. The podcast features candid and productive conversations with other top-level women entrepreneurs and executives, to support women entrepreneurs in building their dreams.

Recent alum Colin Stewart (BS Film & Television ‘20) and his film production company, Five Tribes Cinema Productions, have been raising money to produce a short film that will benefit frontline workers. Mr. Stewart's three-minute film titled "Ave Maria" follows a man who confronts the five stages of grief after his wife passes during a pandemic. The company has organized a GoFundMe for donations that will help cover the cost for making the film, including the insurance to shoot in a historic church and lighting equipment for the production. Additional donations will be contributed to the COVID-19 Response Fund.

Debra Westmoreland (BS Design ‘74) joined the Adams County Arts Council as a board director and will serve a three-year term. Since 2011, Ms. Westmoreland has been active in the Adams County Arts Council as a staff member and instructor of adult and youth classes. She has chaired the annual Juried Art Exhibit at the Schmucker Gallery at Gettysburg College. In addition, she continues to pursue her personal love of textiles, design and art as a design consultant and fiber artist.

Tyler Haughey’s (BS Photography ‘12) work documenting the New Jersey shore during winter was featured in Places Journal’s article “Off-Season," accompanied by an essay by architectural historian Gabrielle Esperdy. As she writes, "the Jersey shore is an unlikely place in which to document landscapes that are still, quiet, unpopulated. Now the pandemic has given new meaning to images evoking an uneasy stasis and uncertain future.” Read the full article here.