Image for post
Image for post

The distress call sounded sometime after the U.S.S. Goodhue slid past the international dateline. The tiny atoll of Midway — site of the U.S. Navy’s pivotal victory over Imperial Japanese forces two and a half years earlier — lay astern in the night sea. And now, finally, in December 1945, after years of suffering on all sides, the Empire of Japan was defeated and occupied. The Second World War was over. American servicemembers, by the thousands, boarded troop carriers bound for home. Still, hardships and danger remained.

Aboard the Goodhue, newly promoted U.S. Army Sgt. Paul E. Poetter — my father — and more than 1,900 G.I.s and sailors steamed toward the West Coast. “[We] received an S.O.S. from a Liberty Ship with 1,200 veterans on board,” my father wrote in a letter. “This message was picked up by us at 4 a.m. We at once turned around and headed for the stricken ship.” …


You won’t find my 2020 Word of the Year in Merriam-Webster’s — indeed, it’s not “pandemic,” “mask,” or “Zoom.” All terms we’ve heard a lot this year. No, my verbum anni is people-centered. Both a noun and verb, it exudes camaraderie, esprit de corps, action. Results. Positivity and perseverance. Purpose, promise, and pluck. My word, dear friends, near and far, is “quaranteam.”

Image for post
Image for post

“Quaranteam” joined our lexicon last spring, and derivatives quickly followed. “Quaranteams” formed and began “quaranteaming,” then celebrated accomplishments they’d “quaranteamed.” Neologisms, all! Literal and literary manifestations of adaptability, creativity, and vitality. Humor, too: a pair of West Hollywood friends quaranteamed to stage “homecoachella,” 2020’s safe substitute for their usual pilgrimage to the renown California arts and music festival. And solidarity: professional footballers worldwide gathered on pixel pitchesfor “Ultimate Quaranteam,” an EA Sports FIFA 20 e-tournament that raised funds for foundering clubs whose soccer seasons were sidelined. …


Image for post
Image for post
shopSCAD’s unique retail gallery in Savannah, Georgia, has delighted window shoppers, tourists and collectors of fine art for the past decade.

Tis the season for giving — and finding the perfect present for friends and family! Thoughtfully chosen gifts stir curiosity and imagination just as they wrap loved ones in warmth and gratitude. As we close out 2020, it only feels right to celebrate those who’ve encouraged us throughout the year. Read along to discover a trove of SCADtastic treasures, all from our magnificent alumni — each sure to delight…

From sparkling chandelier earrings by Lilli Dokken to colorful pieces including Kel Cadet’s R-Ki-Tekt necklaces and graphic design alumna Kathleen Grebe’s acrylic necklaces and rings, shopSCAD has dozens of unique jewelry designs for the minimalist and the maximalist alike. …


Image for post
Image for post
SCAD Alumni Atelier Ambassador Eny Lee Parker.

“In Eny Lee Parker’s hands, clay has unlimited potential,” proclaims a recent Surface magazine headline that celebrates the artist’s nuanced works. Indeed, Eny Lee embraces unbridled experimentation as an accomplished ceramic artist and sculptor — a jeweler, too. She’s a SCAD alumna with degrees in furniture and interior design and, as a SCAD Alumni Atelier Ambassador, she represents the exuberant elegance and professional possibilities of our global community of SCAD grads.

The SCAD Alumni Atelier, a quarter-long artist ambassadorship, is truly a watershed experience exclusive to our creative hive. During ambassadorships, SCAD grads reconnect with the SCAD family, realize works, and fulfill dreams. And this year, we celebrate a milestone: the fifth birthday of the Atelier, our prestigious residency endowed specifically for SCAD Bees. …


Image for post
Image for post
U.S. Army Cpl. Paul E. Poetter and fellow servicemen at Ft. McPherson, GA on June 4, 1941

Throughout this year, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of a war that ravaged civilizations and reshaped the world map, I have been rereading the wartime letters of my father, U.S. Army Cpl. Paul E. Poetter, who wrote to my mother throughout his deployment. From the restorative power of the written word to the anticipation and opportunity every homecoming brings, each page shares a laugh, or a lesson. Despite the destruction and dread of war that he experienced daily, moment by moment, my father’s letters brim with his humor, optimism, and quiet stoicism. …


Did you know that, every single day, SCAD prominently displays thousands of works of preeminent student and alumni art from the university’s private view collection within and around more than 100 buildings on two continents? Truth! Spectacular sculptures, paintings, photographs and more from our 14,000-work collection are on view at SCAD locations in Atlanta, Savannah, and Lacoste, France — and that’s in addition to the SCAD Museum of Art’s 4,500-work permanent collection. …


Image for post
Image for post
Opening Night of the 2019 SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Grab your popcorn and get ready for an all-access pass to SCAD Savannah Film Festival 2020! This year, we’re transporting the big screen to your screen. In a season of firsts, our 23rd annual Film Fest takes a plot twist that even the director didn’t anticipate — the festival’s virtual debut, with more than 170 screenings, industry panels and In Conversation sessions available to watch wherever you are in the world! So, get ready to settle into your seats and sofas. …


Image for post
Image for post

“Another rainy day,” U.S. Army Cpl. Paul E. Poetter — my father — wrote home on September 16, 1945, from the Philippines. “As if that wasn’t enough, they have me on K.P. duty today,” he continued, his prose painting a smile-and-shrug. What can you do?! Yet, greasy pots and pans (K.P. duty — “kitchen patrol” — forever the G.I.’s gripe) would not spoil his mood. More than 8,500 miles from home, Cpl. Poetter sought a silver lining and summoned a grin: “Well, it could have been worse. It could have come tomorrow on my birthday. …


Image for post
Image for post
A photo of me and my father, proud U.S. Army veteran Paul E. Poetter.

On a Sunday in the Philippines, U.S. Army Cpl. Paul E. Poetter wrote his sweetheart with breaking news. “I just heard the radio broadcast of the signing of the surrender,” Cpl. Poetter — my father — scribbled in the letter, bound for Mississippi, addressed to Willie Mae Lewis, my mother. “Both MacArthur’s and the President’s speeches were good. It made me feel I would get home shortly after the first of the year.”

Pride and optimism poured from my father’s pen that day, September 2, 1945. Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s and President Harry S. Truman’s remarks resounded hours after Japan’s official surrender, signed on a cool, gray morning in Tokyo Bay, filled with more than 200 vessels from the U.S. Navy’s 3rd Fleet. From the deck of the USS Missouri, where the ceremony concluded, CBS reporter Webley Edwards’ voice filled the airwaves: “Ladies and gentlemen of the world, as if God himself approves, the clouds have broken away, and the sun has come out in these first moments of peace.” …


Image for post
Image for post
“Feather Study #3” by SCAD alumna Taylor Curry (B.F.A., photography, 2012)

In the early weeks of the 2020 pandemic, as people pecked keyboards and entered COVID queries into Google, curious souls around the world furrowed their brows when their web pages loaded — wait for it — pictures of crows. And rooks. And ravens. And other corvids — birds in the corvidae family. Typos abounded, and search results for crows spiked. What a difference an “R” makes!

Indeed, crows had a moment in March, and they’ve continued to delight throughout the pandemic. A “For the Birds” column in the Santa Fe New Mexican sported the headline, “Raucous corvids bring joy in time of COVID.” (“We’re focusing today on corvids, not COVID,” columnist Anne Schmauss wrote to open the piece — clearly, she knew her readers needed respite.) Renowned painter Kerry James Marshall recently earned praise in The New York Times for his artful reimagination — with crows as centerpiece — of James Audubon’s Birds of America. (More on this later.) And in our daily lives — meaning COVID-19, work-from-home, live-at-work, and all the other curveballs of 2020 — we can mirror crows’ adaptability. …

About

Paula Wallace

Designer. Author. President and Founder of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) || http://scad.edu || http://instagram.com/paulaswallace

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store