In the weeks leading up to the 2016 Alumni Awards Ceremony, we’ll be profiling each honoree in detail here on the blog. This year’s distinguished alumna in the Visual and Performing Arts category is Dr. Tiffany Holmes, M.F.A. ’99, imaging and digital arts, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In the mid-1990s, Tiffany Holmes was teaching art at Canton Middle School as a Teach for America corps member, and when the school opened its first Internet-equipped computer lab, she took on the role of Media Specialist as well. After taking her students on a field trip to UMBC’s Imaging Research Center, Holmes decided to apply to the then-nascent Imaging and Digital Arts M.F.A. program, and was thrilled when UMBC admitted her. “I realized that I wanted to expand my creative practice into digital media,” she says, and in the early days of both the IMDA program and the World Wide Web, there were many paths to blaze on that front. Kathy O’Dell’s art history seminar, in particular, was “so contemporary and relevant to the concerns of a developing media artist.” In her doctoral work at Plymouth University in the U.K., Holmes studied the effects of art and design on electricity conservation efforts, and she earned her Ph.D. in 2010, shortly before the birth of her second child. Environmental themes are a constant in her body of work, which has been exhibited all over the world. Her latest exhibition, “Crooked Data: (Mis)Information in Contemporary Art,” is set to launch at the Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond in February 2017. In addition to her creative work and her post as a dean at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Dr. Holmes has raised two children with her husband of 12 years, Duane Carter.