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James Barany on Vardo project and creativity

James Barany, Professor of First Year Experience, treated MIAD students, staff and faculty last week to a tour of the Vardo that he constructed during COVID. The 11 x 14 foot wooden wagon is surprisingly spacious and comfortable, featuring a bunk bed, couch and stove. Barany drew on his Hungarian and Czechoslovakian heritage to build the 19th century Vardo, which he named The Leander as a tribute to his late father.

“Everything in my studio practice is a culmination of a certain ‘creative continuum’, where a collision of ideas often manifests into new forms through a transformative process,” he says. “In surgery the term is referred to as ‘anastomosis’ where there is a cross-connection that occurs throughout the body, much the same can be said of my current practice where one thing manifests into another. Here in this specific example, a devotional poem written in regard to my Father’s passing manifested into a series of isometric drawings that slowly evolved into the physical Vardo that was parked in front of campus.” 

In his practice as a professor, Barany counsels current students and creatives to “keep making… then when you’re exhausted reflect upon what you’ve made, think, ponder, dream, reflect, connect, ideate, probe, then repeat in continuum.” 

As an artist, Barany relies on ever-transforming “narrative and storytelling” to drive most of his work. In conjunction with OLGA, a professional singing group from the Netherlands, he has shown two highly successful experimental animations at international film festivals. Currently, he is re-working the live action film Gretel (2012) by Madison-based film group Richland Films into an experimental short that employs AI, rotoscoping and digital visualization techniques. 

Check out more information on Barany’s Vardo, keep up with Barany’s work and learn more about MIAD’s First Year Experience!


Ordinary people doing extraordinary work: Growing Resistance

In the 50th anniversary year at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), the college presents “Growing Resistance: Untold Stories of Milwaukee’s Community Guardians,” an exhibition in the Brooks Stevens Gallery running January 8 – March 2, 2024. Related programs include zine making, a book club, student-guided tours and a story circle with community partners.

Metalwork and molds: MIAD alum on Kohler Residency

Eye-opening and awe-inspiring: this is how Nirmal Raja ’08 (Painting) describes learning to work with liquid metal. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alum recently completed the John Michael Kohler Arts Center Arts/Industry Residency in Kohler, Wisconsin.

MIAD Values Recognition Award: Dale Shidler

Dale Shidler, Professor of Communication Design, received the January 2024 MIAD Values Recognition Award at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). Dale’s nominations highlighted his embodiment of MIAD’s Core Values, especially Integrity, Kindness and Community.

MIAD students, alumni, faculty create work for ThriveOn King

Four Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) community members will contribute to the first floor of the new ThriveOn King community hub on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They make up part of the 20 Milwaukee artists who will convey the history and heritage of Bronzeville in this collaborative space.

MIAD Board of Trustees welcomes new members

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) Board of Trustees welcomed two new members at their January 2024 meeting. Dr. Daniel A. Schroeder, co-founder and president/CEO of Organization Development Consultants, Inc. (ODC), and Noah Stone, reference librarian and circulation assistant at North Shore Public Library, joined MIAD’s Board.


Accepting applications for Fall 2024
Apply now!

December 31, 2023
FAFSA available for 2024-25 school year
Use MIAD's school code: 014203

April 27, 2024
Admitted Students Day

June 1, 2024
Tuition Deposit Deadline
Pay your tuition deposit