Like many of you, I have had the pleasure to know Jessica Lutz for years. Like many of you, I have been a student, an alum, an alum assistant, an Artist-Teacher, and a member of her staff.
I do not know why Jessica is no longer on staff at VCFA, but I do know that it signals a watershed moment within the program, and that it's time to take action. Now!
Jessica's devotion and passion for the program has been unquestioned since the beginning in 1991. Yet, she no longer has a voice within the very program she started fewer then 2 years after we became Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Therefore, it's now our responsibility to be stewards of that which has served us so well.
Jessica's vision, in collaboration with Roy and the Faculty, is directly responsible for helping us make our way through the world in a manner that accomplishes meaningful social change, on whatever scale we have elected to act on.
That vision has thrived under the administrative leadership of the first private military college in the country (Norwich University) and survived under a suffocating and underfunded leadership ( Union Institute ). Yet here we are finally under our own leadership, and it is on the verge of collapse under it's own weight of indifference.
Vermont College of Fine Arts was born in 2008, and currently sits on the eve of being granted accreditation by New England Association of Schools and Colleges ( NEASC ). The administration needs to account for how it will fulfill the mission of the college in the future, in line with the vision that brought it ( and us ) to this place, at this moment.
Please write directly to Tom Greene and Gary Moore to explain your concerns. Some potential questions you may want to consider:
Ask how the current mission of the college will be achieved, starting with the first residency in the history of the program without Jessica Lutz.
Ask what the administration is doing to support the faculty in their attempt to achieve the mission.
Ask why the administration is placing more value on increasing market shares within low residency graduate degree programs, rather then living up to the pedagogy that got it where it is today.
Please make no mistake about the severity of the situation. The program you recognize as independant, radical, responsive, holistic and not afraid of failure, is well on the way to becoming what Steve Kurtz terms as a program full of formulaic production, ..."Fulfilling a set of expectations (formulaic production) is not conductive to the creative process, and in fact is its death in bureaucratization."
Please let your voice be heard. This collaborate art piece we call MFA-V needs our help.