Saudi Arabia has a burgeoning design scene beyond the high-profile architectural commissions that make headlines. For this year’s Design Week, alumnus and faculty member Gail Anderson (BFA 1984 Media Arts) was invited to lead a series of workshops and speak at a symposium entitled Reinventing the Vernacular at Dar Al-Hekma University, a women’s college in Jeddah. The event brought together leading architects and designers—of fashion, interiors and graphics—from around the world with the aim of creating awareness of and engagement with the regional cultures in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
As the designer of numerous book jackets, and former art director at Rolling Stone and creative director for the New York ad agency SpotCo—where she created posters for Broadway hit shows like Avenue Q and The Good Body—Anderson is used to coming across her work on her travels. But she wasn’t prepared to find a familiar site at Dar Al-Hekma, where the Visual Communications Department office is lined with SVA subway posters. “I was really surprised to see them so far from home,” Anderson said. As it turns out, Department chair Cordula Peters shipped them to Jeddah from Germany when she joined the faculty of Dar Al-Hekma.
Anderson teaches in the BFA and MFA Design and Pre-College programs at SVA, and is the recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Medal from the AIGA, among other honors.