Gallery Week Spotlight: University of Michigan, work•detroit

Gallery Week Spotlight: University of Michigan, work•detroit

­­­­The University of Michigan is an international scholastic powerhouse— as mentioned
a few of its professors won Genius Grants a couple of weeks ago.  Luckily, University of Michigan brought some of its power to Detroit, and its school of art and design established a cultural hot spot on Woodward called work•detroit. I reached out to the Director of Exhibitions, Stephen William Schudlich, to learn more about this space. : When did your gallery open?­­

Stephen : It was established on September 22, 2007 : What is your background?

Stephen : I have a B.S. (Fine Art) from Valparaiso University and a M.A. (Fine Arts: Graphic Design) from Wayne State University. As a graphic designer and illustrator, I provided work for clients such as The New York Times, Comedy Central,and Scholastic. He has also worked with WGBH (Boston PBS), Heineken, Nike, Comedy Central, and Kodak. My illustrations are an integral part of the global eBay brand and I illustrated the book The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming, which was published by Scholastic and co-authored by Cambria Gordon and Laurie David, the Oscar winning producer of An Inconvenient Truth.

My work has been included in The New York Art Directors Annual, Print, How, and the AIGA Design Annual. My work has also been exhibited in numerous galleries including Gallery Project, The Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, DAM, The Scarab Club, and in The Old Federal Building as part of the inaugural ArtPrize event in Grand rapids, MI. And my has work is in the collection of Valparaiso University as well as many other private collectors.

I currently teach graphic design/illustration at the College for Creative Studies. : What is your gallery’s focus?

Stephen : Located in the heart of Detroit’s cultural community, Work • Detroit is a unique space for the sharing of creative process and dialogue and an integral component of the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. Work • Detroit’s mission is to explore and define lines of creative connection between the University of Michigan, Detroit, and beyond. work • detroit presents the work of student, faculty, alumni, as well as local, national, and internationally prominent thinkers and makers. : What can patron expect when they come to your gallery during gallery week?


“Human beings have persistently searched for the ideal environment… seeking for a point of equilibrium that is not of this world.” – Yi-Fu Tuan

This exhibition proposes explorations on the theme of Topophilia, a term coined by geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, defined as the “emotional connections between physical environment and human beings.”

Topophilia showcases work by both national and international artists, including Ajit Chauhan (San Francisco), Richard Mosse (New York), Soo Shin (Chicago), Philip Topolovac (Berlin) and Yumiko Ono (Tokyo/Prague).  The exhibition is made possible, in part by the University of Michigan International Institute Fund for Exhibitions and the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. Curated by Kayla Romberger and Alisha Wessler.

September 9 – October 7, 2011

Gallery Hours are T-Sat 11-4 during exhibits : What are the plus and minuses of running a gallery?

Stephen : + working with colleagues and fellow creative processors

+ surrounded by art and art process

- full time dedication can result in lack of time to work on my own pieces : What are your favorite Michigan art galleries?

Stephen : DAM, CAID, MOCAD, Gallery Project, Jacobs Gallery (Wayne State), Scarab Club : What is your philosophy about viewing new art?

Stephen : When possible, I strive to provide work a formal space, with adequate room around it to engage the user without distraction from other work, or other users. I also expect the maker of the work to be aware and responsible for it’s effective delivery needs. I do not look to have my role as director to become a part of the artist’s work. : How would you describe the Detroit art scene?

Stephen : In a state of incredible growth, with positive recognition from an outside public who, in many cases look for ways to engage with Detroit, creatively. : Has the Detroit art scene changed in the past few years?

Stephen : YES : What impact do you want to make on the Detroit art scene?

Stephen : I want to continue to provide and shepherd the opportunity for thinkers and makers from a diverse community to come together in creative dialogue. I want to maintain a very high level of quality both in craft as well as interpretation of topic (when call for work applies.)  I want to be involved with a space that individuals want to be part of, both as users and contributors. : Do you have any favorite artists you would like to mention?

Stephen : Miro, Fluxus, Kurt Vonnegut, Howard Finster, Mark Mothersbaugh, Ryan Standfest, JenClare Gawaran, Adrian Hatfield, Clinton Snyder.