2020: The year in photos

2020: The year in photos

Each year, UAB’s official photographers capture tens of thousands of images as they document the incredible variety of events and personalities that make up our community. Here are some of our favorite photos of some of the most dramatic months in UAB history.

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Student Spotlight: Levi Sanford

Student Spotlight: Levi Sanford

Senior Levi Sanford changed his major and found both inspiration and a career path.

Photo: Macey HobsonChoosing one’s major, like making art, takes an open mind. Levi Sanford, a senior art major focusing on graphic design, knew he wanted to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham but his heart was not always set on graphic design. Before transferring to UAB, Sanford was a nursing major at Bevill State Community College.

Emily Schumann: You mentioned that you always knew you’d end up at UAB. Why?

Levi Sanford: I always saw myself going to UAB for their medical school. When I changed my major to general studies at Bevill, I decided I wanted to go into art as I got more into my creative side. I saw an ad for a graphic design program online and wondered whether or not UAB had one. I saw that they did and it felt right. It was what I really wanted to do and what I felt like I’d be a lot happier doing.

ES: Was there a particular class or teacher in CAS that was especially formative to who you are as a creative person?

LS: The first class I had at UAB was a Digital Imaging class, ARS 103, with Doug Barrett. I remember being really nervous for his class and he was a very helpful instructor. I mean, all of the instructors in the College of Arts and Sciences are so helpful, it’s amazing. They really do push you to be better. Before UAB, I had never opened Illustrator or InDesign and didn’t know anything about Photoshop, but now I can whip up shirt designs in Illustrator. It was so helpful and inspiring because they pushed me as a creative. I appreciate that now. Self-doubt is the biggest thing. You’re so hard on yourself but they help you push past that.

ES: How have you developed your professional eye and creative style at UAB?

LS: It’s definitely developed over time. I have friends in classes I [took in previous semesters]. It’s nice to see that I was once at that point, and now I’m able to help them. One of the biggest parts of being an artist is discovering your style. I’m a very retro, vintage-oriented person with a modern edge. A UAB t-shirt designed by Levi Sanford. Photo: Emily Schumann

Art is subjective, so what someone likes might not be what I like. It’s a trial-and-error process. That applies to most art. Most experiences, really.

ES: How has UAB helped you identify your career goals?

LS: When people first asked me what I wanted to do with my degree, I had a hard time answering because the possibilities are so broad. Hearing [faculty] experiences has helped me narrow my options. The variety of projects you complete also helps you sample different paths. Bloom Studio [run by Doug Barrett in the Department of Art and Art History] is technically a class but it’s like an internship because we work with real clients. We are currently helping rebrand Klein Arts and Culture, a non-profit based in Harpersville, AL.

Personally, I like the idea of working for one of the larger marketing/advertising agencies in Birmingham. It’s fast-paced, but the idea of constantly being able to put out work and different projects in an intense environment seems like a great way to gain experience.

ES: Would you say UAB was the right choice?

LS: UAB has been a great call. I don’t want to say everything happens for a reason because that’s such a broad thing, but I’m glad that this happened. It’s hard to picture where I’d be if I wasn’t here. I’ve grown so much as a person here and I’ve developed so many skills. The UAB campus is diverse and there are so many people to learn from and connections to be made. It’s not an art school, but I feel like you get almost the same education while saving the money you would spend at an art school.

Photo of book cover and artwork by Levi Sanford

ES: Do you have any advice for incoming UAB students?

LS: Be open-minded. Be open to hearing opinions from other people because it is so vital to hear what others have to say. Don’t assume your ideas are better than what others might have to offer. Come ready to learn, to be yourself, and be prepared to be humbled.

Interested in graphic design? Learn more about our majors and concentrations in the Department of Art and Art History.

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Campus walkway gives a boost, gets a lift

Campus walkway gives a boost, gets a lift

In 1975, UAB completed a pedestrian bridge crossing University Boulevard at 13th Street South to accommodate a quickly growing student population. This year, UAB art students brightened the footbridge with a UAB-themed mural.

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Arts and Sciences alumni honored at UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 event

Arts and Sciences alumni honored at UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 event

Ten alumni in the College of Arts and Sciences were honored as members of the UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 class of 2019.

Left to Right: Adam Aldrich, Brady McLaughlin, Julie McDonald, Kristen Greenwood, John Boone, David Brasfield, Carol Trull Pittman, Dustin Welborn, and Jennifer Smith (not pictured: John Burdett)On June 20, ten alumni in the College of Arts and Sciences were honored by the UAB National Alumni Society as members of the UAB Excellence in Business Top 25 class of 2019. The dinner and awards ceremony took place at the UAB National Alumni Society House.

The annual Excellence in Business Top 25 program is designed to identify, recognize, and celebrate the success of the top 25 UAB alumni-owned or UAB alumni-managed businesses. In addition to our ten honorees, two alumni won top honors in Fastest Growing Companies Under $10 Million: John Boone of Orchestra Partners, 2198% growth; and David Brasfield of NXTsoft, 317% growth.

Congratulations to our deserving graduates!

  • Adam Aldrich, president and co-founder of Airship, graduated in 2008 with a B.S. in Computer and Information Sciences.
  • John Boone, principal of Orchestra Partners, graduated in 2010 with an M.A. in History.
  • David Brasfield, CEO of NXTsoft, graduated in 1984 with a B.S. in Computer and Information Sciences.
  • John Burdett, CEO of Fast Slow Motion, graduated in 2000 with a B.S. in Computer and Information Sciences.
  • Kristen Greenwood, executive director of GirlSpring, graduated with a B.A. and an M.A. in Art History in 1999 and 2006, respectively.
  • Julie McDonald, Ph.D., co-founder of McDonald Graham LLC, graduated with an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Psychology in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
  • Brady McLaughlin, CEO of Trio Safety CPR+AED, graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies in 2009.
  • Carol Trull Pittman, founder and CEO of RedKnot Resource Group, graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies in 2001.
  • Jennifer Smith, director of operations of Down In Front Productions LLC, graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies in 2016.
  • Dustin Welborn, president of Down In Front Productions LLC, graduated with a B.A. in Communication Studies in 2013.

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Rich Gere named new chair of the Department of Art and Art History

Rich Gere named new chair of the Department of Art and Art History

Print media artist Rich Gere comes to UAB from the Department of Art and Design at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Photo: Edgar De La GarzaRich Gere has been named chair of the Department of Art and Art History. He will begin his new position on August 15, 2019.

Gere comes to UAB from the Department of Art & Design at Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his M.F.A. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

After starting a career in finance and marketing, Gere co-founded a graphic design firm in Knoxville in 1998. While working as a professional designer, he taught courses at community colleges in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia; he also helped develop an adult education program with fellow faculty members at Tusculum College in Knoxville. In 2001, Gere joined the faculty as a professor of foundations and painting in the School of Fine Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) at their Savannah campus; in 2002, he transitioned to professor and director of printmaking at SCAD, Savannah. From 2006 to 2013, Rich was professor and founding chairperson of print media, as well a director in the School of Fine Arts for SCAD's new Atlanta campus. In that role, he was responsible for developing the B.F.A, M.A., and M.F.A. programs in print and digital media. In 2014, he was named professor and chairperson of the Department of Art & Design at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

As a print media artist, Gere explores alternative photo processes; works of paper, sculpture, and installation; and his work is currently centered around border issues and the ecology of South Texas. As a lecturer, artist, and co-investigator, he has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including funding from the Rauschenberg Foundation and a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) which currently supports his research on integrating the visual arts as pedagogy into the nursing curriculum.

Gere has served on many national and international art boards and juries and appeared on a wide range of conference panels and councils. His recent conference activity includes presentations at SGCI (Southern Graphics Council International Conference); Southeastern College Arts Association Conference (SECAC); the College Arts Association Conference (CAA); and the Mid America Print Council (MAPC).

As an artist, he has appeared in more than 200 juried, solo, and group exhibitions, including recent exhibits at the El Paso Museum in El Paso, Texas; the Museo de Arte de Ciudad, Juarez, Mexico; SCOPE Basel, Switzerland; ArtHelix Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; and at the Toolbox Gallery, Berlin, Germany. His artwork appears in a number of public and private collections, and he is represented by Marcia Wood Gallery of Atlanta.

We look forward to working with Rich. We are also deeply grateful to Jessica Dallow, who has served as interim chair since 2017 and will return to the art history faculty.

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