Message from the President
A Future-Focused School Year
Now fully in the swing of a new semester, the re-start of so much “in-person” work has been invigorating, with the days feeling both novel and normal. We’re a fuller school this year, with more people in our programs and the shops abuzz with activity. As always, our students represent many chosen paths: some are early in their education joining us right from high school, others arrive post-college hoping to grow their skills, and still others are adding to successful careers as veterans, teachers, farmers, musicians, lawyers, and cooks. The range of experience is ever-inspiring.
This, our 140th year, serves as a ‘bridge’ as we move from the urgent response and adaptations of 2020-2021 and toward the future. A priority for our work this year is crafting a new strategic plan, one that maps our goals for the next five years, while also envisioning the shape of our School in ten years, when NBSS will celebrate its 150th anniversary. 2031 is right around the corner.
Happily, this is another year of concrete, hands-on work, not just visioning and planning. As we rebuild enrollment in our Full-Time programs, we’re also excited to welcome Continuing Education students back to our building in early 2022. Complementing our sturdy core of in-person courses are online classes, which are currently in pilot mode but will be open to the public this spring. These new offerings will allow us to teach skills we know well, and also venture into areas newer for us. Coupled with the second season of our In the Making series, these virtual efforts continue to grow our profile and reach, inviting more people from many life paths to be a part of what we do.
Another critical piece of our work is looking at the actionable ways in which NBSS can become a more diverse, inclusive community. Growth and new initiatives in these areas are happening through the leadership of the Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Committees, at all levels. This includes opportunities through our program offerings, funding partners, recruitment relationships, Board membership, and student, staff, and faculty support systems. This work is guided by learning, by self-reflection as an institution, and by our commitment to the School’s future.
I experience the productivity of NBSS to be absolutely dizzying. As soon as I learn of one exciting project, visitor or effort, the next one is on the horizon. I hope you’ll take the time to experience the dynamism of this place yourself, through our Portrait Project, our In the Making series, publications and our posts from our programs. The work of this small school is remarkable, re-energized, ambitious, and expansive.
Here’s to a future-focused school year, eyes up and ahead.
Sarah Turner, President
As an educator, leading from both the office and the studio, Sarah has worked at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the State University of New York at New Paltz and the Oregon College of Art and Craft. As the Dean at Cranbrook, she directed the Academic Programs of the Academy, including a ‘public-lecture-as-variety-show’ series, and a Critical Studies + Humanities residential teaching fellowship, which she established in 2009. Sarah has also worked extensively in the areas of student success, from enrollment and admissions to developing opportunities for students and alumni. She has lectured widely, regularly serves as a guest critic to studio programs, and has organized exhibitions on contemporary craft and design in the US and abroad. In 2005, Sarah was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands to research Dutch contemporary applied art.
In addition to her work in education, Sarah has maintained a studio practice rooted in craft. Trained initially in metalsmithing and jewelry, her work has ranged from woodworking to weaving to printmaking—always with a focus on the meanings inherent to objects and materials. Her artwork has been included in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Galerie Noel Guymarc’h in Montreal, and The Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.
Sarah has been a volunteer and advisor for a variety of organizations, including the Southeast Michigan Fulbright Association, the Vermont YWCA, and the Society of North American Goldsmiths. She currently serves on the Boards of the Art Jewelry Forum and The Furniture Society.
Born and raised in Ohio, Sarah received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Smith College and a Certificate in Metalsmithing from the Oregon College of Art & Craft. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
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Miguel Gómez Ibáñez CF ’99 retired as President in 2018, after 12 years of leadership. He leaves behind a tremendous record of physical and economic institutional growth for America’s first trade school. Among other notable accomplishments, Miguel implemented two strategic plans, secured and led the renovation of the School’s new 64,000 sf facility, established multiple strategic educational partnerships, and oversaw the School’s major $20 million Lives & Livelihoods Campaign, which will help to fund $1 million in student scholarships annually.
Born in New England and raised in Europe by parents who worked in higher education, Miguel long aspired to make a living with his hands. After earning a BA from Wesleyan University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, Miguel worked for 26 years designing civic and educational projects.
Throughout his time at NBSS, Miguel has maintained a furniture making workshop, which provides him not only personal fulfillment, but also a unique perspective on education. His work has been featured in House & Garden, American Craft, and other magazines, galleries, and museums across the country.
Full Resume — Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez