Alum in Residence Anne Focke invites fellow alum David Mendoza to join her in a conversation that will begin with each asking the other, “What did you do with your art history degree?” Both Anne and David graduated with art history undergraduate degrees in 1967, when the UW’s art history degree program was in its very early days. Highlights from their backgrounds provide a partial answer to the conversation’s leading question.
In the intervening years since 1967, David has been director of the Foster/White Gallery, executive assistant to the chair of the New York State Council on the Arts, the first director of Artist Trust, the first executive director of the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression, and a long-time board member of Art Matters, a foundation that helps artists who “break ground aesthetically and socially.” Since 1998, he has created and manages a workshop on Bali (his home today) with a focus on natural dyes, handmade batik, preserving traditional craft techniques in Southeast Asia, and designing and producing a line of products including men & women’s clothing and goods for the home.
At times during those 50 years, Anne has had what might be called a “regular” job – assistant in education at the Seattle Art Museum, first assistant director of the Seattle Arts Commission, and first executive director of Grantmakers in the Arts. But most of the time, she has made up the work she’s done. Among others, she led or helped found and/or (an artists’ organization), Artech (an art-handling company), Artist Trust, Arts Wire (national online network for the arts), What’s Up? and Penny U (two conversation series), and this Alum in Residence program. She has been and often continues work as a free-lance editor, planner, evaluator, and facilitator, and also as an artist and writer.
Both alums continue to be actively engaged in the world we live in today. They will invite everyone who attends to join in and expand the conversation beyond their own histories.
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