Tenazas Is MICA Designer-in-Residence

MICA’s William O. Steinmetz Program Continues Strong

The Maryland Institute College of Art has named Lucille Tenazas — whose groundbreaking creative career has helped open up graphic design to diverse influences and personal voices — as this year’s William O.Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence. The Steinmetz program is MICA’s most prominent annual design event, named after MICA alumnus, faculty member and trustee William O. Steinmetz (1927–2016). On April 5, Tenazas will talk about her work, spanning her origins as a young student in the Philippines to her current role as an endowed professor at Parsons School of Design. Tenazas will also lead an online design workshop with MICA students from 12-4 p.m. on April 11.

Tenazas is the Henry Wolf Professor of Communication Design at Parsons School of Design, where she served as associate dean of the School of Art, Media and Technology (AMT) from 2013–2020. She founded the MFA Design Program at California College of Arts (CCA) in 2000. Her work as a designer and teacher bridges theory and practice in a process of self-discovery. She received the National Design Award in Communication Design from Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement. She was a GDUSA Person To Watch in 1998. 

“When I came to the US to study graphic design in 1979, I arrived with no baggage of history,” Tanazas says. “I asked, how can I refer to the foundations of Western typography but make it my own? How can I synthesize ideas from the Bauhaus or Swiss modernism and go beyond them?”  Born in Manila, the Philippines, Tenazas has taught and practiced in the United States since 1979. As a graduate student at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in the early 1980s, she was exposed to the work of Eliel and Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames. She is an authority in the evolving state of design education and has conducted workshops in institutions throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.

“MICA is proud to share Lucille Tenazas’s voice with our students and with the wider design community,” says Ellen Lupton, MICA faculty and the College’s inaugural Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Design Chair. The William O.Steinmetz ’50 Designer-in-Residence program annual design event will be held on Zoom on April 5 and streamed live on MICA’s YouTube page. The William O. Steinmetz Designers-in-Residence has included illustrious names from a range of design disciplines over the years, including:

  • 2021 — Cheryl D. Miller, Maurice Cherry, Deyane Moses and Tasheka Arceneaux-Sutton
  • 19/20 — Tobias Frere-Jones
  • 2019 — Lisa Strausfeld
  • 2018 — Zachary Liberman
  • 2017 — Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski
  • 2016  — Richard Niessen
  • 2015 — Amy Franceschini
  • 13/14 — Karin Fong
  • 2013  — Chip Kidd
  • 11/12 — Teddy Cruz
  • 2011 — Eddie Opara
  • 2010 — Topher Delaney
  • 2009  — Cameron Sinclair