On July 1, 2019, the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia debuted its newly expanded name and officially became the "Tyler School of Art and Architecture." The change is part of a reorganization of the existing programs at this art school, which is part of the larger institution Temple University. In October 2018, the Temple board of directors voted to eliminate the separate departments of Craft as well as Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture, unifying them under a single "Department of Art." Recently, there has also been a shuffle in Tyler's glass-program faculty, with assistant professor Jessica Julius, who has taught at Tyler for more than a decade, taking over as program head, while her predecessor Sharyn O’Mara will continue as a full-time professor with more time to devote to her own art practice.
Julius is coming in at this time of restructuring and rebranding for Tyler. As the school reinforces its wide scope of programs that exposes students to a variety of disciplines, Julius told the Glass Quarterly Hot Sheet she was “honored and excited” to fill the new position. Currently serving as vice-president of the Glass Art Society, Julius graduated from Tyler in 2003 and has been teaching there for 12 years.
“I’ve been a part of the Tyler community for quite some time and the new position feels really great,” she said.
The glass program at Tyler places emphasis on sculptural aspects of glass production, and seeks balance between technical and artistic aspects of glass production, Julius explained. Additionally, Tyler’s broad programming allows for an interdisciplinary approach, ensuring a unique blend of technical and artistic aspects of glass art. Jessica Julius said that the greater exploration between art disciplines that occurs at Tyler means students leave with “hybrid practices.”
This “open-door policy” within departments and inclusive curriculum is a focal point for Julius’ goals as new director. Along with the name change, which includes a wide range of disciplines under one umbrella, reinforces a cross-pollination between subjects. It also, as Julius said, establishes Tyler as a department of art, not of craft.
“The scale of the program allows it to be unique,” Julius said. “We create diverse dialogues and I consider it a privilege for students to be exposed to so much.”
As far as what she strives for as she takes on this new position, Julius said she isn’t trying to change the integral facets of Tyler.
“It’s not about reinventing the wheel, but continuing to create connections, expand where students get placed, and build on the open door policy,” Julius said. “It all fits in with the name change.”
“I feel honored to be in this position, there are big shoes to fill, but I feel ready for it,” she said. “I’m going to embrace every opportunity.”