Weekly Memo

Dear members of the Hajim School community:

It’s no secret Rochester undergrads enjoy tremendous curricular leeway, or that our students and faculty are masters of cross-disciplinary collaboration. Both, I believe, help explain why so many of our folks are free thinkers – and wildly talented ones at that.

This week, I am pleased to celebrate a Hajim School alumnus whose interests and expertise extend well beyond the engineering world. Sam Sadtler ‘11 has won first place in a competition sponsored in part by VSA, the international organization on arts and disability and an affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For 11 years now, a partnership between VSA – which stands for “Very Special Arts” – and Volkswagen Group of America has been recognizing emerging visual artists with disabilities.

This recent contest asked participating artists – all aged 16 to 25 – to address the theme, “Sustaining/Creating,” with works that expressed “innovative viewpoints on sustainability and contemporary creativity.”

Sadtler was awarded a $10,000 prize for his photography Delicacy of a Can Opener and Elegance of a Knife. He and his 14 fellow honorees – who were awarded a total of $60,000 – will display their work Sept. 11 through Jan. 13 in an exhibit at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (For those living near our nation’s capital, the show will be open every day, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., inside the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive Southwest, which is accessible by Metro. And, it’s free of charge, with no tickets required.)

The winners were selected by a jury of well known art professionals, including Jason Bowman, Director of New York City’s Fountain Gallery; William Newman, the Carolyn S. Alper Professor of Contemporary Arts at D.C.’s Corcoran College of Art + Design; and Sarah Tanguy, Curator of Art in Embassies for the U.S. Department of State.

While a student here, Sadtler was a member of the Baja SAE team and a Take Five scholar, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

“I completed my Take 5 year in May, which focused on media studies and photography,” explained the Concord, Mass., resident in an email over the weekend. Also, I was in the Studio Arts senior seminar course, which pushed me to develop a body of work focused on household electronics and sustainability. And through T5, Studio Arts, and Engineering I was able to create a series of scanned images of household appliances, which is what I won the award for. Ultimately, I see this as a connection between my engineering experience and my artistic pursuits.”

VSA and Volkswagen say that a goal of this program is to provide support – both moral and financial – for promising amateur artists at a time when they’re deciding whether to pursue the arts professionally. In Sadtler’s case, with a Hajim School education to his credit, and a winning spot in his first-ever juried art show, one imagines he has a successful future ahead of him, no matter the career choices he makes.

Well, we’re just about 2 weeks from the start of classes now. Looking forward to another exciting school year!

Rob Clark
Professor and Dean