Sam Fox School honors six

The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts honored four outstanding architecture and art alumni at its second annual awards for distinction dinner April 23. The school also recognized one young alum and one recipient of the Dean’s Medal for distinguished service to the school.

The awards recognize graduates who have demonstrated creativity, innovation, leadership and vision through their contributions to the practices of art and architecture as well as to Washington University and the Sam Fox School.

“The awards dinner is one of the Sam Fox School’s most important events of the year and a crucial way to recognize the career achievements of our alumni and friends,” said Carmon Colangelo, dean and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts.

Awards for distinction

Ralph Cunningham, AIA (B.A. ’83) is a founding principal of Cunningham|Quill Architects and has worked in residential, in-fill mixed-use, institutional and commercial architecture for more than 20 years.

His projects have received numerous design awards, including 29 awards from chapters of the American Institute of Architects and two “Best of the Year” awards from Remodeling magazine. He also has served on numerous juries for local and national publications, including the Residential Architect Awards last year. Cunningham has been visiting faculty at both Catholic University and Howard University and is a trustee on the Board of The Washington Architectural Foundation.

Ann Fertig Freedman (BFA ’71) joined Knoedler & Co., one of the New York’s preeminent galleries, in 1977 as director of contemporary art and, in 1993, was appointed president and director.

She has served on the executive board of directors of the Art Dealers Association of America and on the National Council of the Sam Fox School. With her husband, Robert L. Freedman, Ann Freedman is active both as a collector of art and a museum patron, donating works from their collection to museums across the country. Recent donations include the gift of Frank Stella’s wall relief “Lo Sciocco Senza Paura (The Fearless Fool)” to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

Tom Friedman (BFA ’88) is known for transforming mundane consumer products into playful yet meticulously crafted works of art, ranging from sculptures and drawings to prints, installations and multimedia constructions.

His work has been exhibited at major museums throughout the world, including solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2006, the Kemper Museum inaugurated its new College of Art Gallery with “Pure Invention: Tom Friedman,” an exhibition of more than 20 works, drawn largely from St. Louis-area collections, surveying the last decade of his career.

Harry C. Kendall, AIA (B.A. ’78) co-founded BKSK Architects in 1985 and serves as partner-in-charge of business development as well as the firm’s public liaison for projects requiring complex regulatory approvals.

Kendall also has led the design of some of BKSK’s largest projects in landmark districts, including New York’s Fischer Mills Building and 124 Hudson Street Condominiums, both of which were lauded by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. An adjunct professor of architecture in Columbia University’s graduate historic preservation program, he lectures widely on the topic of adaptive reuse and new buildings/additions in landmark districts.

Young alumni award

Sara Velas (BFA ’99) is a visual artist and founder and director of The Velaslavasay Panorama, an exhibition hall, theatre and garden in the historic Union Square area of Los Angeles, which she launched in 1999.

Velas has traveled extensively, visiting 19th-century panoramas — as well as their contemporary counterpoints — throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. A member of the International Panorama Council, she has lectured extensively on her interpretation of the panoramic artform.

She recently participated in the exhibition “20 Years Ago Today: Supporting Visual Artists in Los Angeles at the Japanese American National Museum” and completed a monthlong printmaking residency at Kala Institute in Berkeley, Calif.

Dean’s medal

Judy Pfaff (BFA ’71) is one of the most celebrated artists of her generation, known for crafting large-scale installations that combine local materials with elements of painting, sculpture and architecture.

Her work has been featured in more than 100 one-person shows and installations and more than 200 group exhibitions. Today, it can be found in such prestigious collections as the Detroit Institute of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. Her numerous awards include a 2004 MacArthur “genius” Fellowship as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and many others.