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July 21, 1999 Contact: Laurent Pernot (312) 413-4137, Lpernot@uic.edu

ED EPPING TO HEAD UIC SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN

Ed Epping, former chair of the art department at Williams College whose works are part of more than 35 permanent collections nationwide, will join the University of Illinois at Chicago as director of the School of Art and Design. The appointment is subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

"Ed Epping brings a combination of wisdom and enthusiasm that will help spark everyone's imagination," said Judith Kirshner, dean of the UIC College of Architecture and the Arts. "Like the college's high-profile faculty, he will be an important actor in the larger Chicago arts community. Our faculty and students will benefit from the leadership of this first-rate artist and educator."

Epping's work has been featured in more than 25 solo and group exhibits and artist books. His creations take many forms, from drawing and painting to sculpture and digital media. The versatility of his body of work informs his approach to teaching, which he says will emphasize inter-disciplinary efforts.

"My role will be to act as a facilitatorů to bring things together in ways that have not been considered. That's what artists and good teachers do everyday," said Epping. "UIC's College of Architecture and the Arts is full of incredible potential, and all the conditions are right for that potential to be realized. I am truly excited to be able to apply my training at a public institution, where one feels a larger sense of obligation and societal responsibility."

Epping is professor of art at Williams College, where he was chairman of the art department from 1987 to 1990 and again in 1998. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Illinois University. He says his experience as a student and the more than 20 years he spent at Williams College inform his philosophy of education.

"My ideology reflects that of a true liberal arts education," said Epping. "There are so many opportunities for energies to be melded together in exciting ways."

Kirshner said the college will create a media center for undergraduates, where students can collaborate on projects and learn about interactive techniques. Kirshner and Epping believe this new environment will give students greater freedom to explore different media.

"I'm a strong believer that content drives form," said Epping. "If the idea is right, it will lead to the right medium."

While building bridges across disciplines is vital, so is continuing to strengthen the relationship between the college and the wider art world, according to Epping.

"Indeed, everything we do to a large degree depends on and is informed by the richness of the city, where the arts and architecture thrive," said Kirshner. "Through partnerships with the Chicago Public Library and Gallery 37, to name just two, we strive to give something back and in turn help enrich the cultural fabric of Chicago."

With 25,000 students, the University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest and most diverse university in the Chicago area. UIC is home to the largest medical school in the United States and is one of the 88 leading research universities in the country. Located just west of Chicago's Loop, UIC is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the area.

-UIC-

 
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