Herron Alumni Association names Rachel Meyer Simon recipient of 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award

The Herron School of Art and Design Alumni Association will honor Rachel Meyer Simon (B.F.A. ’08) with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award during the school’s annual Honors and Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 4.

Simon is the founder and executive director of The Public Collection, a public art and literacy project consisting of artist-designed book share stations, developed to increase access to books and art.

Since 2008, the association’s Board of Directors has annually recognized an alumna or alumnus for exemplary career achievement and service to their alma mater. In her nomination letter, Dean Valerie Eickmeier wrote: “While attending Herron, Rachel was actively involved in student organizations, provided mentorship to other students, organized student exhibitions in community venues and also facilitated open channels of communication between students, staff and the dean.

Several years after graduating Rachel became a strong advocate for Herron’s newly launched Art Therapy Program. Her personal support resulted in a charitable gift from the Herbert Simon Family Foundation’s to help established community internship sites for art therapy students.”

Simon explained, “The value of art reaches far beyond the aesthetic. I think through Herron’s Art Therapy Program, the general public will begin to see and understand the value of the arts at a more tangible level.” She added, “We are excited to see education, art and healthcare create a collaborative and mutually beneficial program that improves the lives of patients and students.”

Dean Eickmeier also noted that with The Public Collection, “The project not only elevated the unique character of Indianapolis, but provided a venue for Indiana-based artists—many alumni of Herron—to compete for the commissions, including one slot that was reserved for a Herron student. Kimberly McNeelan earned that commission with her work 'The Evolution of Reading'; which is installed in White River State Park.”

Simon joins recent recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award including:

  • Terrance Main (B.F.A. ’76), 2015.
  • Steve Mueller (B.F.A. ’76), 2014.
  • Lois Main Templeton (B.F.A. ’81 in Painting), 2013.
  • Garo Antresian (’48 in Fine Arts), 2012.
  • Mike Garber (B.F.A. ’97 in Visual Communications), 2011.
  • David Bowen (B.F.A. ’99 in Sculpture), 2010.
  • Leah Traugott (’46 in Painting), 2009.
  • Lois Davis (’47 in Painting), 2008.

She will receive the award during Herron’s annual Honors and Awards ceremony, taking place at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 4 on the fourth floor of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. The ceremony immediately precedes the opening of multiple celebrations at both Herron buildings including “Look/See,” a year-end exhibition of works by the graduating class of Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts students.