Metamorphosis At Lyme Academy

Brian Stephens, Do You Want to be a Boy or a Girl?


Kristin Nord

Being a working artist today means being many things — as Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts graduates are proving. They are art teachers and animators, medical illustrators and gallery owners, portrait artists and toy designers, puppeteers, prosthetics designers, creative directors, storyboard artists, computer game artists and cartoonists. And the list goes on.

While the curriculum overall remains committed to the study of nature and the human form — the traditional modes of teaching that have produced master artists throughout the ages — the institution’s affiliation two years ago with the University of New Haven (UNH) is now enabling Lyme Academy students to tap into a variety of liberal arts and complementary UNH art programs. This year, 16 students have been enrolled in a team-taught common core exploration of climate change, for instance, while others will be taking advantage of the longstanding UNH semester abroad program in Tuscany, Italy.

Campus Dean Todd Jokl said the institution’s guiding mission — “to provide the best education in drawing, illustration, painting and sculpture” — means that undergraduates are obtaining “the scaffolding they’ll need for creative practices that may take them in any number of directions.” The caliber of their work is gaining them berths in top MFA programs throughout the country. Follow-up grants, fellowships, commissions, residencies and awards are further evidence that Lyme Academy students are playing increasing roles in the creative economy, he added.

Patricia Miranda, Susanna Coffey and Jokl co curated the current exhibition, “Metamorphosis,” which focused on Lyme Academy graduates who have gone on to earn MFAs. Miranda took time out between classes and finals recently to offer a short tour of the show.

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