Setting the Design Standard

The Wm. O. Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence Program

“William O. Steinmetz was a man of great talent and enormous kindness.” — Ellen Lupton

You could not talk about Bill Steinmetz ’50 (General Design B.F.A) without talking about his design influence on Baltimore.

A little over 50 years ago, Steinmetz and his wife, Betty Cooke ’46 (Art Education B.F.A.), moved from their tiny Tyson Street showroom, where they had steadily built a local following for Cooke’s jewelry and the couple’s design services, into the newly developed Village of Cross Keys. That venture, The Store Ltd., features products and fashion that have made it Baltimore’s standard for fresh, trendsetting design and whose current clientele reaches around the globe.

To pay tribute to Steinmetz’s impact and to continue to emphasize the value of great design, Cooke, together with gifts from others, established the Wm. O. Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence program at MICA; and for the past seven years, the program has brought outstanding design practitioners to campus to share their experiences and perspectives with the MICA community and the public.

The latest big names in design to become Steinmetz designers-in-residence are Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski, co-directors of Conflict Kitchen in Pittsburg. Both public art project and take-out res-taurant, Conflict Kitchen serves regional cuisine from countries in conflict with the United States. The restaurant uses food as a tool to engage its customers in discussion about countries and cultures they know little about beyond media headlines. Rotating its menu among different countries that have included Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, food offerings are augmented by events, performances and publications that seek to expand discussion about the regions in question. Rubin, an art professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and Weleski, a social practice artist, will be on campus April 17–20 to meet with MICA students as well as give a public lecture.

Previous designers-in-residence include illustrious names from a range of design disciplines:

2016 — Richard Niessen, renowned for his posters and typography and featured at the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York and Une Saison Graphique in Le Havre, France.

2015 — Amy Franceschini, Guggenheim Fellow and founder of Futurefarmers, a collective of artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers who seek to create alternative solutions to current constraints of space.

2013 — Karin Fong, an Emmy Award winner named one of the Top 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company magazine.

2013 — Chip Kidd, author and acclaimed graphic designer famous for his iconic book jacket designs for such scribes as John Updike, Michael Crichton and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

2011 — Teddy Cruz, world-renowned for his advocacy and design work with honors that include the Rome Prize in Architecture, various American Institute of Architects Honor awards, the James Stirling Memorial Lecture On The City Prize, a United States Artist fellowship and the FORD Foundation’s Visionary Leader Award.

2011 — Eddie Opara, partner at Pentagram and Art Directors Club Gold Cube Winner also featured in Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” African-American list.

2010 — Topher Delaney, environmental artist and builder whose projects include the University of California, San Francisco Medicinal and Botanical Garden and Napa Valley, California’s Modernist Organic Farm.

2009 — Cameron Sinclair, TED prize and National Design Award winner as well as founder and principal designer at Small Works, a design firm providing architectural services for communities in need, who has raised more than $50 million for humanitarian causes.