Applied Design Program Attracts Attention

A featured article and an 8-inch sphere on the White House Christmas tree are attracting attention for UALR’s unique program in applied design.

ornament Assistant professor Mia Hall – the first professor in the furniture design program – was selected by Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) to create an ornament for the national tree.

“Being rather new to Arkansas, I have, like so many others, come to appreciate the nature of the state,” Hall said. “I wanted the design of the ornament to reflect that admiration so it became important to incorporate actual, natural objects.”

Her 8-inch sphere is covered with eggshells that were floated with red-tinted epoxy, giving the outside a crackled appearance. The interior, which is visible through a circular opening in the front, houses small oak branches that have been colored with copper paint and patinated green.

Hall and Dr. Win Bruhl, chair of the Art Department, were quoted in a feature on the applied design program in the January issue of At Home in Arkansas:

Bruhl said he and his colleagues became acutely aware of the lack of any programs devoted to studying, preserving and expanding traditional craft techniques when they conducted a survey several years ago concerning art programs in the region. Realizing that most universities in the area were providing essentially the same coursework for art students, Bruhl says, “We decided we needed to define ourselves in a unique way.” With their goal set, they moved with impressive speed to create the new Applied Design program. By fall 2006, they began enrolling students in the program’s first courses in furniture design. With each passing semester, a greater number of course offerings are becoming available, and Bruhl says that one of their biggest challenges is simply making potential students aware of the program.

The Applied Design program will also welcome visitors to its annual Open Studio from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, in University Plaza Suite 300.

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