Title Professor/Chair of the Foundation Environment
Degree MFA, Sculpture, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BFA, Sculpture, Cleveland Institute of Art Graduate work in Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois; summer study in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University; summer study at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
Petra Soesemann is a Professor and Chair of the Foundation Environment. In 2009 she was granted a year-long sabbatical leave to focus on her creative practice at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program. Selected awards include Artist-in-Residence at the Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain; Fulbright Fellowship to study Incan architecture in Peru; exhibition Grant to Sao Paulo, Brazil; travel grants to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to research Mayan art and architecture; and travel grants to Turkey to study Islamic art and architecture as well as contemporary art. She has also taken CIA students to Mexico, Germany and Italy on team-taught foreign study trips. Soesemann’s recent work explores the conventional relationships between seeing and representing; her fabric constructions often manipulate light and color to bring perception into conflict with uncertainty, engaging the basic mechanisms of “mind seeking meaning” as a process of consciousness.
Degree BFA, Cleveland Institute of Art; MFA, Columbia University
Christi Birchfield is an internationally exhibited artist whose work is in permanent print and drawing collections including at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Clinic. She is a full-time visiting artist/lecturer in the Foundation Department at CIA. Christi earned a bachelor of fine arts degree (BFA) from CIA and a master of fine arts degree (MFA) from Columbia University.expand collapse
Jerry Birchfield Sr
Title Technical Specialist
Jerry Birchfield Jr
Title Adjunct Faculty/Technical Specialist
Title Professor/Co-Chair of Sculpture + Expanded Media
Courses BFA Statement + Exhibition | Charette: Collaboration + Community | Fiber: Advanced Studio: Topics in Contemporary Art + Culture | Fiber: Sewing + Fabrication Processes | Fiber: Silkscreen | Material Matters | On the Body | Sculpture + Expanded Media | The Extended Body
Degree MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art; BA, Barnard College, Columbia University
Tina Cassara received a BA in urban studies, emphasis in sociology from Barnard College, Columbia University. Following graduation, she moved to Viques, in the Juan region of Peru, and studied with Francisca Mayer from Black Mountain College, teaching natural dyes derived from indigenous plants to local weavers. Her travels continued through the Collao Altiplano region of Bolivia. While living in New York City, Cassara was co-editor of Sing Out! magazine before attending Cranbrook Academy of Art, where she received an MFA from the fiber department. Cassara has since conducted extensive research into women’s labor in the American textile industry, issues of European migration and relocation, and more recently, the assigned value of labor in historically women-dominated textile industries in the South. In the late 1990s, Cassara began exploring the history of textile production. A strong advocate for organized labor, she began conducting interviews in LaGrange, GA, and nearby mill towns, speaking with retired textile workers, factory owners, surviving union organizers, and members of textile heritage societies. In 2008–09, Cassara was awarded a sabbatical to further her research in the network of textile heritage societies, including travel to Cooleemee, NC, working with organizers of the Textile Heritage Initiative and members of the Troop County Historical Society. Cassara's research also continues in Scranton, PA, where she is examining documents and photographs related to the growth of the mining and silk textile industriesexpand collapse
Title Academic Director, Cores + Connections; Adjunct Professor of Art, Foundatio
Degree BA, Studio Art, Ursuline College; MA student, Advanced Inquiry, Miami University
On faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Art since 2006, Barbara Chira has also been Academic Director of CIA's burgeoning academic vision, Cores + Connections, since July, 2013: core values of faculty mentorship, studio and academic rigor, and state-of-the-art curriculum, all power extensive connections for student engagement in community-based learning, real-world professional projects, and socially engaged practices in art and design. Chira is also a practicing artist, having maintained a studio in the Superior Arts Corridor since 2002. Her commitment to the ideals of a social practice has included projects with homeless women and children at the Salvation Army's Harbor Light Complex and with HIV-positive children in Youngstown (exhibited at the McDonough Museum of Art). In more recent years, she has been creating safe spaces in public for strangers to come together in meaningful conversation. At CIA, Chira has been championing new socially engaged project courses for students, this year related to poverty, health care, and the environment, with partners including the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Metroparks, and Cuyahoga County's homeless and hunger service organizations. This commitment to socially engaged art is also informed by Chira's previous 12-year career in community health and human services in the County, including several years as a case manager "in situ," working with people in their homes in Cleveland's highest-poverty neighborhoods.expand collapse
Title Adjunct Faculty
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