ANNOUNCEMENT: Steve Hartley Appointed to Bryn Athyn College Faculty as New Head of the Building Arts Program
I am delighted to announce that Steve Hartley will be joining the Bryn Athyn College faculty in the coming academic year as an assistant professor and Head of the Building Arts program.
Steve Hartley has an MFA in Historic Preservation, and he is completing his PhD in Conservation Studies at the University of York with a dissertation that examines the history of craft education in the US and UK. Steve comes to us with experience as Department Head of Historic Preservation and Restoration at Savannah Technical College, and most recently as a Project Office at the University of York. He is also familiar with our Building Arts program and Bryn Athyn’s historic district, since he has taught in our summer Building Arts Workshops and has consulted for us.
In Steve’s position in the Arts Department, he will be leading the effort to establish a Building Arts BFA Program, taking the current 2-year AA program to a 4-yr baccalaureate program. Review in July 2016 by a panel of experts from Pratt, Columbia, Parsons, The University of York (UK), and the American College of the Building Arts concluded that a four-year building arts program at Bryn Athyn would likely be successful. Their judgment is based on the institution’s mission, the architectural resources of the historic district, the history of the crafts in Bryn Athyn, and the institution’s geographic location. The review panel concluded that a 2-yr program would not find much market because student outcomes would be insufficient to be placed in appropriate professional settings, but that a 4-year program would position graduates for entry-level positions in the professional crafts. The Bryn Athyn Building Arts Committee considered and agreed with the recommendations of the review panel.
A robust program in the Building Arts at Bryn Athyn includes three elements:
1) Summer and other special workshops for matriculating and non-matriculating students both in and outside the immediate area. The Bryn Athyn Program is unique in its setting in a National Historic Landmark, affiliation with an accredited program, and devotion to hands-on crafts in the building arts. In addition to serving the college population, the program can include offerings appropriate for secondary school students, in addition to non-matriculated adults.
2) A four-year degree program in the traditional heritage crafts that were used on site to build the Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn Museum. These crafts are needed today to maintain, restore, and/or renovate heritage buildings in this region and beyond. A four-year program in Building Arts would be only the second such program within the United States, and the first to include a specialization in glass arts. This proposed program reflects a unique approach to higher education within the US, and would allow Bryn Athyn College to serve as the model for heritage craft education in the 21st century.
3) An unparalleled venue for graduate students in heritage architecture and restoration programs (such as those at Pratt, Columbia, and Penn) to develop hands-on skills that complement their work at their home institutions. As demonstrated by the visits by students from both University of Pennsylvania and Pratt Institute, learners at these institutions desire the option to engage with the heritage crafts within their period of study. Given the geographical location of Bryn Athyn in relation to many of the historic preservation and architecture programs in the US, the opportunities to engage with additional institutions in the training and appreciation of traditional building arts within these populations of students is unmatched. Furthermore, using the college’s facilities and in conjunction with the iconic structures of Glencairn Museum and the Bryn Athyn Cathedral, the program has the potential to develop a strong framework of partnerships which can be expanded to include multiple additional institutions from around the world.
Steve’s highly successful experience as department chair for a related program in Savannah and his graduate research on heritage craft preparation programs in the US and UK prepare him well for the challenge of helping Bryn Athyn’s Art Department develop the building arts program.
Led by Dr. Martha Gyllenhaal, the Art Department has done remarkable work bringing the building arts program into being. We are fortunate to have her leadership and the dedication of the skilled artisans in her department. Steve is joining a solid team.