RIT’s R. Roger Remington, School for American Crafts feted by Rochester arts group

Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester honors both for enduring contributions

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A. Sue Weisler

Massimo and Lella Vignelli talk with R. Roger Remington inside the Vignelli Center for Design Studies in 2010.

Two Rochester Institute of Technology “institutions” were recently recognized for their longtime contributions to the arts in the Rochester area.

During the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester’s 30th Annual Arts Awards on Nov. 20, the organization honored:

  • R. Roger Remington, a distinguished professor of design, with the “Champion of the Arts” (Individual) award.
  • The School for American Crafts (SAC) with the group’s “Organization” award.

The annual luncheon, which drew more than 400 attendees—including artists, patrons, and business and cultural leaders—took place at the Hyatt Regency Rochester.

Remington, who marked his 50th year at RIT earlier this fall, said “such important recognition is, for me, a great honor.”

“I have always felt the importance of the educational institution reaching deep in the community and adding richness to the mix,” Remington said.

Robin Cass, chair of the School for American Crafts and a professor in the glass program, said the school—part of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences—is “a continuously evolving community of people, all with a shared dedication to skill, creativity and innovation in the arts, design and crafts.”

“We are extremely honored to receive this award from the Arts & Cultural Council and so grateful to all of our supporters,” Cass said. “As a school, we treasure our local relationships; Rochesterians see our students’ creations every year at the annual ‘Walkthrough’ open studios event and at the flurry of graduate thesis and senior exhibitions held throughout the city each spring.

“Our alumni become independent artists or artisans, designers, or teachers in a variety of venues—many remaining in Rochester,” she added. “SAC has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the Rochester community for over 60 years, and I hope we will both continue to thrive.”

As Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design at RIT, Remington was instrumental in the development of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies—a museum of design that houses the Vignelli archive. The center advances innovative global programming in design education.

Remington is the first faculty member in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences’ School of Design to receive an endowed professorship. He studied graphic design at RIT and graduate art history and printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Originally named The School for American Craftsmen, SAC was established in 1943 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., by the American Craftsmen’s Educational Council and later moved to Alfred University. The school’s founding was primarily due to the efforts of Aileen Osborne Webb, who was deeply committed to the traditional crafts in America.

In 1950, Webb played a key role in moving the school to RIT. It has continuously produced graduates dedicated to earning a living as artists/craftspeople, teachers and designers for industry. Long serving as a catalyst for leading artists and a model for education in the visual arts, the school offers BFA and MFA degrees in ceramics, glass, metals and wood. In addition, the wood program also offers an AOS degree.