New Faculty

SAIC Welcomes New Full-Time Faculty Members, Visiting Artists, and Fellows

Please join me in welcoming new full-time faculty members to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). These faculty members represent a diverse range of practices, media, and methodologies and exemplify SAIC’s focus on interdisciplinary studies. The new full-time faculty members, who will teach in three departments across the School, include Benjamin Larose (MDes 2016, Fashion Design), Kristin?McWharter (Art and Technology Studies), Rey Benedict Pador (Fashion Design), and Oliver Shao (Liberal Arts).

In addition to SAIC’s new full-time faculty, the School will host nine full-time visiting artists, including Peter Burr (Film, Video, New Media, and Animation), Christian Campbell (Writing), Giovanni Innella (Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects), Jason LaFountain (Art History, Theory, and Criticism), Sasha Phyars-Burgess (Photography), Jiwon Son (MFA 2007, Visual Communication Design), Joshua Stein (Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects), Ife Williams (Arts Administration and Policy), and Takahiro Yamamoto (Performance).

We are also pleased to welcome two post-graduate teaching fellows, Delano Dunn (Painting and Drawing, Contemporary Practices) and Maryam Yousif (Ceramics), who are coming to SAIC as part of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Graduate Teaching Fellowship. This program seeks to provide professional practice opportunities to high-achieving alums of AICAD member schools while contributing to the diversity of faculty.

Of the new full-time faculty members and visiting artists, Jason LaFountain, Benjamin Larose, and Jiwon Son previously taught at SAIC as part-time faculty members. Last spring, many part-time faculty members received promotions, including: Marzena Abrahamik, Joseph Belknap (MFA 2009), Sarah Belknap (MFA 2010), Larissa Borteh (MFA 2014), Troy Briggs (MFA 2012), Suman Chhabra (MFA 2015), James Connolly (BFA 2009), Nancy Fleischman (BFA 2002, MFA 2012), Yoshiko Fredisdorf, Rosalynn Gingerich (MFA 2003), Evan Gruzis, Joseph Kramer (MFA 2010), Matt Morris, Erica Mott, Kate O’Neill (BFA 2005, MFA 2013), Andrea Peterson (BFA 1987), Dylan Rabe (BFA 2011, MFA 2014), Celeste Rapone (MFA 2013), Terry Surjan, Sonja Thomsen, Emily Willis, Lisa Zaher, and Meredith Zielke (MFA 2010) who were promoted to adjunct assistant professor. In addition, Brett Balogh (MFA 2007), Joel Benjamin (BFA 2003), Alex Chitty (MFA 2008), Deborah DelSignore, Josh Dihle (MFA 2012), Robb Drinkwater (BFA 1986), Peter Fagundo (MFA 2002), Aram Han Sifuentes (MFA 2013), Todd Hasak-Lowy, Beth Hetland (BFA 2009), Sterling Lawrence (BFA 2007, MFA 2011), Kristin Mariani (BFA 1994), Allie n Steve Mullen, and Nathana?l were promoted to adjunct associate professor, and Judith Brotman (BFA 1989, MFA 1994) and Michael Ryan were promoted to adjunct full professor.

And, finally, I'm delighted to announce that Professor Candida Alvarez (Painting and Drawing) was awarded the F.H. Sellers Professorship in Painting.

With the addition of the new full-time faculty members, full-time visiting artists, and AICAD fellows, as well as the promotions of several of our part-time faculty members, SAIC continues its legacy of excellence in art and design education.?

Martin Berger

Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs


Peter Burr

Peter Burr

Peter Burr is an artist from Brooklyn, New York. Burr is a full-time visiting artist in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at SAIC. His practice has been recognized through grants and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), a Creative Capital Grant (2016), and a Sundance New Frontier Fellowship (2016). He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Delano Dunn

Delano Dunn

Delano Dunn is a second-year AICAD teaching fellow in the Contemporary Practices and Painting and Drawing departments. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and received his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. Through painting, mixed media, and collage, Dunn explores questions of racial identity and perception through various contexts, ranging from the personal to the political, and drawing from his experience growing up in South Central LA.

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Giovanni Innella

Giovanni Innella

Giovanni Innella joins SAIC as a visiting artist in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects. Innella is a designer, artist, curator, and critic. In his practice he explores broad areas such as identity, geopolitics, and crafts. His critical research focuses on the representation of design, its rhetoric, aesthetics and economics. Innella is also an assistant professor at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo, Japan.

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Jason LaFountain

Jason LaFountain

Jason LaFountain is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, where during 2019–21 he will serve as director of the first-year art history program. LaFountain is a specialist in American and early modern European art. Prior to joining SAIC in 2014, he was Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in American Art at Northwestern University. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and Master of Arts and PhD from Harvard University.

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Benjamin Larose

Benjamin Larose

Benjamin Larose (MDes 2016) is an assistant professor in the Department of Fashion Design. Larose sees fashion as a dynamic platform that defines his interdisciplinary approach to making “sculpture with Fashion DNA.” He has been teaching at the School since 2016. Larose received a Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment from SAIC, a Bachelor of Media Arts from Emily Carr University, and a graduate certificate in Pedagogy from Université du Québec à Montréal.

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Kristin McWharter

Kristin McWharter

Kristin McWharter is a professor in the Department of Art and Technology Studies. Integrating innovative and novel technologies within immersive sculptural installations and viewer-inclusive performances, McWharter's work investigates the relationship of competition and intimacy. McWharter received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in Design Media Arts.

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Rey Pador

Rey Pador

Rey Pador is an assistant professor in the Fashion Design department. He received his Master of Arts in Fine Arts from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. With an extensive knowledge in pattern making as well as design, he has worked internationally as a freelancer for numerous designers. In addition to his industry experience, he has taught in Belgium, Germany, and India. Pador will be teaching fashion design with a strong emphasis on the making of a piece and collection.

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Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Sasha Phyars-Burgess was born in Brooklyn, New York to Trinidadian parents, and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is a full-time visiting artist in the Photography department at SAIC. Phyars-Burgess graduated from Bard College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Photography. Upon graduation she worked for Larry Fink for one year before moving to Berlin, Germany, and Trinidad and Tobago. She received her Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University in 2018 and has exhibited work nationally and internationally. Phyars-Burgess was artist in residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2015?and the 2018–19 Diane Dammeyer Fellow in Photographic Arts and Social Issues at Columbia College.

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Oliver Y. Shao

Oliver Y. Shao

Oliver Y. Shao is an assistant professor in the Department of Liberal Arts. Shao’s work focuses on music in Africa and the Asian diaspora, with an emphasis on migration, politics, and applied methodologies. Shao received a Master of Music in Ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University Bloomington.

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Jiwon Son

Jiwon Son

Jiwon Son (MFA 2007) is a full-time visiting designer in the Department of Visual Communication Design. Son first found design in her early studies of physiology, anatomy, and cellular biology, and she continues to approach her decades-long practice as a designer, educator, collaborator, illustrator, model maker and exhibiting painter through the lens of organic systems. She received a degree in Biomedical Communication from Ohio State University and a Master of Fine Arts from SAIC.

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Joshua G. Stein

Joshua G. Stein

Joshua G. Stein is the founder of Radical Craft and the co-director of the Data Clay Network. Stein is the author of Trajan’s Hollow and co-editor of Dingbat 2.0: The Iconic Los Angeles Apartment as Projection of a Metropolis. He has received numerous grants, awards, and fellowships, including multiple grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative award, and the 2010–11 Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture. He is a former member of the LA Forum Board of Directors and has taught at the California College of the Arts, Cornell University, Southern California Institute of Architecture, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Stein is professor of Architecture at Woodbury University where he also directs the Institute of Material Ecologies.

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Pascale Ife Williams

Pascale Ife Williams

Pascale Ife Williams is visiting faculty in the Department of Arts Administration and Policy. Williams is a Chicago native with more than 10 years experience in justice-driven arts and community-engaged work that explores and complicates racial, gender, and wellness equity. She seeks to engage community through radical imagination, visioning, and the activation and facilitation of creative and spiritually expressive praxes. Williams is currently pursuing a PhD in Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.?

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Takahiro Yamamoto

Takahiro Yamamoto

Takahiro Yamamoto is a full-time visiting artist in the Department of Performance. Yamamoto's artistic and choreographic practice and research involve ontology of performance, mutability of identity, and social implication of gaze. Yamamoto joins SAIC from Portland State University. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University and Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Maryam Yousif

Maryam Yousif

Maryam Yousif is an AICAD teaching fellow in the Ceramics department. As an Iraqi-American artist, Yousif’s work has been a means of processing diasporic shifts of cultural aesthetics inspired by western kitsch and ancient Middle Eastern forms and structures particular to Mesopotamia. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Windsor in Canada and Master of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute.?

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