By Jefferson Beavers
Read the full interview on We Grow Writers
Leo Rowland, an MFA alumnus, has worked for more than 15 years leading international study abroad programs in Argentina, the U.S., and now Italy.
In an email interview, MFA alumnus Leo Rowland spoke about valuing interdisciplinary education, crossing borders of many kinds as writers and artists, and staying true to your most essential elements in whatever work you choose to do. Below is an excerpt from that interview.
You are just starting as the new Dean of Art and Design at Studio Arts College International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. What led you to this job, and what do you hope to accomplish there?
I was visiting SACI as part of their annual consortium meeting. I spent a few intensive days speaking with members of the board, the president, other faculty and staff visitors from art schools and universities throughout the U.S. Some of my ideas attracted the president, who later reached out to me about the dean position opening and encouraging me to consider applying. It was a long road, but I did apply, and here I am.
What fascinates me about SACI is it’s a studio art and design program on the one hand, but a study abroad program on the other. SACI offers both undergrad studio abroad and a number of MFA and post-bac programs, in a very international context. I want to help SACI leadership and our faculty and students really explore the convergence of art, design, and culture and what this could mean in terms of mission, learning goals, and the core experience for students and critical value in an education of this kind.
Art, similarly to many fields, must increasingly consider its social value and social vision and mission, and this excited me in thinking about our programs and development.