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feature / alumni / diversity / influencing-change
April 24, 2023

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Influencing Change: DEI at ArtCenter – April 2023

Planting Seeds

April offers an air of celebration on campus. On Saturday April 6, Admissions hosted Accepted Students Day, a time to welcome our Fall 2023 accepted students. I'm sure many in our community remember the thrill of being accepted to ArtCenter, and I can't wait to see the creativity of this incoming class blossom.

I'd also like to congratulate our Admissions team for their commitment to bringing incredible students to the College. The team has worked tirelessly to make ArtCenter more accessible, especially to our local population, hosting over 25 outreach workshops since 2022, for community arts partners, like Inner-City Arts and Las Fotos Project.

And on Saturday, April 22, many of you were able to catch creative feats at our Spring 2023 Graduation Ceremony and Grad Show. This year, the ceremony fell on Earth Day, which certainly aligns with ArtCenter’s values and our students' strides in sustainable art and design.

As many of you know, our commencement speaker, Gun Denhart, has long been a steward of sustainability. She founded a children's clothing brand with family-friendly workplace policies, advises on the board of several organizations, and launched the Denhart Family Sustainability Scholarship Prize at ArtCenter with her son, Christian Denhart (BS 10 Product).

Each year, the awards recognize outstanding projects that marry sustainability with superior design. Since 2011, over $350,000 in scholarships has been awarded to students whose work prioritizes environmental, social or economic sustainability.

And now, I’m pleased to announce other DEI initiatives across campus.  

Aaron Bruce

Many remember the thrill of being accepted to ArtCenter; I can't wait to see the creativity of our incoming class blossom. 

Aaron I. Bruce, MIBA, Ph.D., Chief Diversity Officer

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

diptych image shirts for sexual assault awareness month hanging on ArtCenter

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). This campaign started 22 years ago, championed by Black women and women of color who called for legislation, such as The Violence Against Women Act and Title IX, which brought monumental changes to how agencies addressed reports of violence. I encourage everyone to participate by wearing denim on Denim Day (April 26), to protest the misconceptions that surround sexual violence, and sign up for Chatting about Consent (Week 14). More information coming soon on Inside, or contact

A Thousand Words

diptych image featuring photography students.

In a world where billions of images explode across social media daily, photographers who truly hone each element of their craft tell the stories worth sharing. “Photography is the center of everything,” Photography and Imaging Chair Everard Williams (BFA 89) shares in this recent Dot story. “It’s the most efficient way to communicate an idea across any channel, be it a magazine or digital.” I invite you to read more about the diverse career paths and students pursuing this discipline at ArtCenter.

Sense of Self

diptych image featuring students on campus and Source Material book.

By expanding upon the timeless tradition of the self portrait, Source Material (a student-led publication supported by ArtCenter’s Writing Center and Center for DEI) wants to inspire members of our community to explore, examine and reflect on the ways in which they perceive themselves and others. Issue 04 presents a collection of portraits, prose, poems and prompts documenting the unique ways identities materialize, transform and interact in relation to one another.

Spotlight: Stella Hernandez, IdentificarX Curator

Stella Hernandez.

Many of you know this co-curator of IdentificarX, our coming exhibition celebrating ArtCenter’s Latinx/e alumni community. For nearly a decade, designer/educator Stella Hernandez has taught in ArtCenter's Spatial Experience Design and ACX departments. She has a passion for social design—her Safe Agua system design for informal communities in Latin America is part of the permanent collection at New York's Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Her most recent designs are focused on celebrating tradition, materiality and hand-crafted techniques from her native Colombia.

Getty With the Program

This summer, ArtCenter's Exhibitions Department is hiring three Getty Marrow interns. The program’s mission is to mentor and foster art and culture workers from underrepresented communities, a critical factor is paid internships for undergraduates in the field. I encourage anyone interested to apply here.

For those who missed last month's Jewish and Muslim Ally Workshops, we now have them available on our YouTube. Starting next month, I look forward to sharing more on how we’ll be celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and Pride, here on campus and beyond.

If you know who’d like to be part of our conversation, please ask them to subscribe

Congratulations to our growing, ever-evolving community—I can’t wait to see all the future holds.

Aaron I. Bruce, MIBA, Ph.D.

Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer
ArtCenter College of Design