The William O. Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence program is MICA’s most prominent annual design event, named after MICA alumnus, faculty member and trustee William Steinmetz (1927–2016). This year, MICA is honored to bring together three generations of cultural activists, including two MICA alumnae, to discuss the crucial issue of racial justice in art and design and to celebrate the achievements of Black creative professionals.
Making History: Black Graphic Design, Past and Future
Cheryl D. Miller ’74, Maurice Cherry and Deyane Moses ’19, ’21 (Photography BFA, Curatorial Practice MFA)
The History of Black Women In Graphic Design
Cheryl D. Miller ’74 (Graphic Design and Illustration BFA) and Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton
Organized by Deyane Moses ‘19 ‘21, Curator of The Maryland Institute Black Archives
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is honored to bring together three generations of cultural activists—including two MICA alumnae—to discuss the crucial issue of racial justice in art and design, and to celebrate the achievements of Black creative professionals in an event supported by the William O. Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence program. In light of racial injustice felt across the country, topics this year will focus on graphic design history and why Black representation matters.
This year the event is split over two days, and features four Steinmetz Designers-in-Residence, including Cheryl D. Miller ’74 (Graphic Design and Illustration BFA), Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton, Maurice Cherry and Deyane Moses ’19, ’21 (Photography BFA, Curatorial Practice MFA).
On April 6, Miller will discuss the legacy and future of Black graphic design in conversation with Cherry and Moses. On April 15, a second lecture will occur with Miller and Arceneaux-Sutton, who will present an intimate look at the Black woman in design’s hidden history.
“The needle can’t be moved without history and scholarship. We can’t decolonize design education without something to decolonize with. The challenge with Black design history online is that it has missing pieces; it’s missing important voices,” Miller said. “Many of our stories are sealed away in card catalogs, our memory banks and our oral traditions. So many weren’t digitized and didn’t make the leap across the technological divide.”
Miller, Cherry, Moses and Arcenaux-Sutton are all working to bring this history to the surface.
“MICA is proud to present the voices and ideas of these four outstanding creative professionals. Through their work as activists, curators, artists and scholars, each has amplified the contributions of Black designers and artists to the field,” MICA’s inaugural Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Design Chair Ellen Lupton said.
About the 2021 William O. Steinmetz ’50 Designers-in-Residence:
Cheryl D. Miller ’74 (Graphic Design and Illustration BFA) is a designer, author and theologian. She established one of the first Black-women-owned design firms in New York City in 1984. Miller holds a BFA from MICA and an MS from Pratt Institute, where she completed her graduate thesis, "Transcending the Problems of Black Graphic Designers to Success in the Marketplace." Miller’s thesis has inspired decades of research and activism by other designers and scholars. Her archives were acquired by Stanford University Libraries. She is curating The History of Black Graphic Design in North America, an open-source database, in collaboration with Stanford Libraries and design colleagues. In 2020 and 2021, Miller has held positions as Distinguished Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin School of Design and Creative Technologies and as Distinguished Scholar in Virtual Residence at Roger Williams University. She also teaches at Lesley University’s College of Art & Design and Howard University. Miller was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters from Vermont College of Fine Art.
Maurice Cherry is principal and creative director at Lunch, an award-winning multidisciplinary creative studio he established in 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, he works as the creative strategist for CodeSandbox. His award-winning podcast Revision Path™ showcases Black designers, developers and digital creators from all over the world. It is the first podcast to be added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Other projects of Cherry’s include the Black Weblog Awards, 28 Days of the Web, The Year of Tea and the design anthology RECOGNIZE. He is the 2018 recipient of the Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary from AIGA and was included in the 2018 edition of The Root 100 (#60), an annual list of the most influential African-Americans ages 25 to 45.
Deyane Moses ’19, ’21 (Photography BFA, Curatorial Practice MFA) is an artist, activist and curator. She holds a BFA in photography from MICA and is currently completing an MFA in MICA’s Curatorial Practice program. In 2020, she founded Blackives, LLC a cultural research firm uncovering Black history within colleges, universities, churches and other institutions. This start-up helps Black communities preserve an account of their past and present history, stimulating awareness, interest and activity in the wider community. Blackives, LLC is currently preparing the 2021 relaunch of the Maryland Institute Black Archives, a project she initiated while she was an undergraduate at MICA. She is the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Fred Lazarus Leadership for Social Change Award, the Harry T. Pratt Society Award, MICA's Space for Black Creative Imagination Fellowship and the Leslie King-Hammond Graduate Award. Moses’ work has been featured in Art in America, ARTnews, Art & Education, BmoreArt, Aperture Magazine, Baltimore Style Magazine, MICA Full Bleed, academic papers, Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun.
Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Southeastern Louisiana University and faculty in the MFA Program in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Arceneaux-Sutton is the principal of Blacvoice Design Studio. Blacvoice does work for small businesses, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. Her research focuses on the discovery of Black people who have been omitted from the graphic design history canon. She is also interested in the visual representation of Black people in the media and popular culture, especially through the lens of stereotypes. Arceneaux-Sutton holds an MFA from CalArts, where she also worked as a graphic designer in the Office of Public Affairs and a BA from Loyola University New Orleans.
About the William O. Steinmetz ’50 Designers-in-Residence program:
Named after the late MICA alumnus, faculty member and longtime trustee William Steinmetz (1927 – 2016), the Wm. O. Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence program was established in 2009 to enhance MICA’s design culture by bringing outstanding practitioners to campus to share their valuable experiences and perspectives with students, faculty and the public. The residency was created thanks to an endowment fund established by Steinmetz’s spouse, Betty Cooke '46 (Art Education), as well as gifts from others in honor of him.
Past Steinmetz Residency recipients include Tobias Frere-Jones, Lisa Strausfeld, Zachary Liberman, Jon Rubin, Dawn Weleski, Richard Niessen, Amy Franceschini, Karin Fong, Chip Kidd, Teddy Cruz, Eddie Opara, Topher Delaney and Cameron Sinclair.