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Todd DeVriese: In Memoriam

posted by CAA — Nov 23, 2010

Jean M. K. Miller is associate dean of administrative affairs in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas in Denton. She is also a member of the CAA Board of Directors.

Todd DeVriese

Todd DeVriese

Todd Joseph DeVriese, a gifted artist, a dedicated art administrator, and a respected colleague, died on November 15, 2010, in New Delhi, India. Born in Peoria, Illinois, on December 9, 1960, he was 49 years old.

With a group of academics from ten colleges and universities, DeVriese had traveled to India in his role as dean of the College of Fine Arts and Humanities at St. Cloud State University, located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. At last month’s International Council of Fine Arts Deans conference, he had shared his excitement about his upcoming trip and, using his gentle humor, urged many of us to become more involved in building strong relationships with international partners.

DeVriese had a strong history of international collaborations. From 2001 to 2006 he lived in the United Arab Emirates, working at Zayed University first as chair of the Department of Art and Design and then as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He arrived at Zayed—the first national university for women in the Emirates—with a mandate to create and develop a program for fine art and design. After successfully doing so, he returned to the United States and became, in 2007, director of the School of Art at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Two years later, his career took him to St. Cloud State University, where he oversaw the undergraduate and graduate programs in more than twenty disciplines, including music, dance, theater, film studies, English, foreign languages and literature, philosophy, and mass communications. A native Midwesterner, DeVriese made his academic start as an associate professor at Ohio State University in Columbus, where he taught in the Department of Art from 1996 to 2001.

Todd DeVriese

Todd DeVriese, New World Order: Policy, 2000, collage on paper, 34 x 46 in. (artwork © Todd DeVriese; photograph © Ohio Arts Council, 2003)

Ohio State is also where DeVriese received his MFA in printmaking in 1992. Before that he earned two degrees from Illinois State University in Normal—an MS in 1988 and a BFA in printmaking and painting in 1985—which provided a foundation for his creative work. DeVriese is perhaps best known for his collages using maps, which challenge prevailing notions of history, nationality, and the myths that surround them. During the past fifteen years his work evolved to engage digital media. He exhibited internationally in twenty-five solo exhibitions and over one hundred group shows; his work can also be found in numerous private and public collections. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, DeVriese had a residency at Anchor Graphics in Chicago, Illinois, and participated in the Ohio Arts Council International Program, traveling to Germany to work in the Dresden Graphic Workshop. As a curator, he organized a handful of exhibitions, including The Method and the Matrix: Contemporary Printmaking in Ohio with Bellamy Printz, which took place in 2003–4 at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus and at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati.

DeVriese was an active member of CAA, the National Council of Art Administrators, the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and EDUCAUSE. This year, CAA’s Nominating Committee had selected him as a candidate for the Board of Directors for the 2011–15 term. He often stated to his friends how deeply honored he was to be considered for the board.

Todd will be remembered as a man who spoke about his wife, Leila, and two-year old son, Johann, as his true pride and joy. He will also be remembered as an inspired and generous soul who loved the arts and was committed to family, friends, and making the world a better place for all.

A memorial gathering for DeVriese will be held on November 30, 2010, 3:00–5:00 PM in the Atwood Ballroom at his school. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Todd DeVriese Scholarship Fund for Arts and Humanities. For more information, please call the office of the St. Cloud State University Foundation at 320-308-3984.

Filed under: Obituaries