Thursday, April 14, 2016

uwm resignation + the future

At the end of the summer of 2016, Jill and I will be departing into new territory at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Rural communities and the mountain country exert a magnetic attraction upon us, and although we think highly of the Milwaukee area, it is not our future. We seek similar to our own childhood experiences, for our children and the opportunity to build a future for our family. The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and specifically the Peck School of the Arts has been a marvelous environment; this area is all that our children have known; we arrived here with our one year old son and are leaving with an eleven year old son, six year old daughter, and a three year old daughter. We are grateful for all it has afforded, for the influence exerted upon our understanding of art, design, and craft and most of all for being able to dwell within all the complexities of what Milwaukee is and represents.

After 10 years as an instructor at UWM, I offer this letter of resignation to be effective August 1, 2016. I seek to refocus the dedication I have brought to UWM upon subjects of personal interest as well as taking part in a new program that envisions the potential of Studio/Fine Craft tradition and its ability to invigorate and impact local communities. It is simply a time to focus upon those things that need to be accomplished, that charge requiring my full attention.

Arriving at Milwaukee aware of this being a place of new beginnings for myself and my family, I depart with the full pleasure of having added to its density. There is no question that the place has seeped into my inner core; it will always be a part of me. I cherish the influence Milwaukee has had. Milwaukee’s industrial roots and strong community bonds hold a special place in my heart and I will truly miss the friendships that I have made here.

Without question, Jill and I have added to the cultural fabric of our community. We have been active in so many of our local and regional activities. Most of our social life has been directly connected to the people that supported a similar vision and focus on faith, education, and discovery. Over the years, we have have connected with colleagues, visiting artists, educators, and most importantly students. During my time at UWM, I have always wanted to serve our students and let their future needs become a barometer for decision making and development within my career. I am proud to have witnessed numerous students that have developed into professionals. Many of which, I now regard as friends and peers and who I professionally respect and look forward to seeing their continued development. I have also had the privilege of serving as a mentor to a strong group of undergraduates and graduate students in the past 10 years that enjoy national acclaim.

It is a good time for me to leave. I have had an impact on the Jewelry and Metalsmithing Area with the kinds of research and the friendly and productive community that I brought to the program. The development of the Digital Craft Research Lab has created a strong community of practicing artists, designers, craftspeople, and makers, and the facility is truly one of a kind. The DCRL’s impact has been felt across all of our Art and Design concentrations as well as Architecture, Engineering, and Health Sciences via the Start-Up Challenge and Product Realization programming. It has brought to the attention of administrators, the value of what faculty in the Department of Art and Design bring to this campus and community. In addition, people have witnessed the power that Craft has to bridge across Design and Art and to make a personal, emotional, and meaningful contribution to the community at large.

A pattern and routine was established in 2006 when I received a space in the Kenilworth Studio Building. I have had the privilege to enter that space almost daily since. This studio has provided the space and time to consider my own professional work, student work and development, work in collaboration with others, and most importantly it has provided the space from which to ponder my future. I have grown accustomed to the pattern of going to the studio each day; sometimes to meet and assist students and other times to develop my own personal ideas. I attempted to leave my mark here by being present and being available to all who were interested in learning and the pursuit of something larger than themselves. I will miss the conversations with students and friends and interactions in problem solving how to accomplish a specific goal. I will truly miss spending time in the Kenilworth building teaching and learning alongside my students and friends.

I’m so very excited about the future. There’s unfinished business with community, craft, metalwork, family, and life; so much more to accomplish, to learn, and to experience. The studio and home in Boone, North Carolina await our arrival; Jill and I are so very anxious to get about our dream.
Anticipating the next time our paths cross, I respectfully submit this resignation.

Frankie Flood
Coordinator - Digital Fabrication + Design 

Director - Digital Craft Research Lab 


raster said...

Much sadness mixed with much happiness. I wish you and your family (and your students) all the best! Thank you for all you've done for our community here in Milwaukee.

Unknown said...

thanks Frankie for everything...sad to see you guys moving though wish you the best.

Ranee said...

How bittersweet! Selfishly I feel sad you are leaving. You have made such a huge impact on not only Shea but our WHOLE family. Shea is very sad and worried as to what she will do without you! For you and your family, I am so excited for the opportunity to grow and have the future you want. Best wishes and I hope we can stay in touch!

Frankie Flood said...

Ranee, we are sad too. Please tell Shea not to worry; we will always be connected and this job will hopefully give me more freedom to connect more easily. The workload at UWM had just gotten difficult to pursue the things we did when I was on sabbatical and we worked on Shea's hand. There is always Skype and please tell Shea she is welcome to come visit us in the mountains. There are still many things that I would like to create, so hopefully this will give me the time to do it.

Frankie Flood said...

Thanks Pete! It has been a privilege and honor to work with you!

Frankie Flood said...

Thank you, Andrew!

Ranee said...

Shea is glad to know that she still can count you as a friend. She said that not many kids have grown-up friends like she does. She will miss being able to check out the DCRL on our visits! Looks like a trip to NC is in our future! It's nice to know that you will have a more manageable work load so you can do and create the things you want to.

Felice Luftschein said...

You're going to love the pace of a more rural lifestyle! Good luck on your new adventure.

Have Blue said...

Really bummed by this news, but I know you're moving for all the right reasons. Thanks for all you've done for us as students of yours.

Frankie Flood said...

Thanks Michael! I'm getting sad as the days of the semester march on. That said we are excited. Luckily the internet will keep us close... at least that's what I keep telling myself to soften the blow. I'm eternally grateful for all of your encouragement over the years. It made a HUGE difference!