Herron team one of five nationwide finalists for SOFA design competition

This fall, Herron students are among an elite list of finalists headed to Chicago for a highly acclaimed exhibition and competition during the Sculptural Objects Functional Art and Design Fair (SOFA CHICAGO) on November 2-5, 2017. SOFA CHICAGO is the leading annual fair dedicated to three-dimensional design, drawing more than 35,000 visitors to Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Launched as a SOFA competition in 2013, CONNECT invites student teams from five art and design programs across the United States to create installations that offer attendees cozy, interactive environments to sit, relax, and “connect” directly on the fair floor. The student creations are presented alongside nearly 90 galleries and dealers from around the globe.

Herron’s team comprises a diverse group of M.F.A. candidates specializing in the disciplines of ceramics, photography, sculpture, and furniture design. Participating Herron graduate students are Emily Casella, Timothy Faris, Andrea Jandernoa, Elizabeth Jorgensen, Michael Osheroff, Tiffany Pierce, Leslie Sorenson, and Kylee Williams.

Under the guidance of professors Cory Robinson, Lesley Baker, Chaz Martinsen, and Katie Hudnall, students have ten weeks to develop their installation, source materials, and fabricate the various elements. Titled “Floating House,” the installation explores the theme of humanity’s environmental impact on the earth and uses digital technologies to augment traditional craft. It will also feature a digital projection creating silhouettes of visitors as they walk through the 24-by-24-foot space. Visit booth C1500 near the Partner Pavilion to see “Floating House.”

“CONNECT isn't about showing individual artworks as much as it is the group coming together. That makes it more of a challenge, but it's a perfect fit for our interdisciplinary collaboration class,” explains Cory Robinson, associate professor and director of Herron’s Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, who integrated the competition into his course curriculum. “This is the first time where the exhibition at the end of the class is out-of-state at a very high profile event. It sets a tone for a high-level expectation for the students.”

The finalists will debut five installations exhibited alongside last year’s winner, Purdue University. The winning installation will be awarded $3,000 as well as an invitation to return the following year. Competing against Herron in the 2017 competition are teams from Columbus College of Art & Design, Metropolitan State University of Denver, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of California, Davis.

SOFA CHICAGO is open to the public with the cost of admission. For details and online ticketing, go to sofaexpo.com/visit. Opening hours:

  • Thursday, November 2: 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Friday, November 3: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 4: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 5: 12 to 6 p.m.