Art and Design Students Exhibit Collectively for NASAD

Work showcased provides cohesive overview of students’ output, and a stepping stone for SArD’s accreditation process.

By Raissa Batakji

The hall teemed with students, faculty, members of the NASAD Commission on Accreditation and visitors.
A clear view of the students’ works with the displays of the Interior Design & Interior Architecture program, and Foundation Year, in the background.
Works of Fine Arts students on show.
Catalogs, photos, a video and clothes gave an overview of the Fashion Design program.
Foundation year projects catch the eye of a visitor.
Plourde Khoury addressing the attendees, with the Graphic Design program display visible behind her.

The School of Architecture and Design (SArD) hosted a collective review on the occasion of a visit by a team from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The exhibition was held on LAU Byblos campus March 27-30, and spotlighted students’ work from foundation year, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture and Interior Design programs.

The review is part of an ongoing process toward the school’s accreditation by NASAD, which was established in 1944 “to improve educational practices and maintain high professional standards in art and design education.”

“Art attracts,” said Provost George E. Nasr at the opening, addressing a crowded exhibition hall. He passed on LAU’s pride in its students’ diligence and strife for academic excellence, referring to the first pillar of LAU’s Third Strategic Plan (SPIII), “enhancing the build-up of intellectual capital.”

Indeed, though each of the programs showcases its students’ work on multiple occasions and across platforms, this exhibit was the first to bring together the different outcomes in one comprehensive display. Exhibition visitors, among whom were members of the NASAD Commission on Accreditation Drs. Jack Risley and Tom DeBiaso, could therefore view and evaluate the students’ work in one setting.

In this regard, the school Dean, Dr. Elie Haddad, articulated the overall vision of the school, which is to promote independent and critical thinking in an atmosphere that encourages students to be innovators, and to respond to the challenges of their times. He also stressed the importance of the arts in today’s world, in which they play a fundamental role in giving value and perspective to human endeavors. 

Associate Chair of the Department of Art & Design and Chair of the Accreditation Committee Melissa Plourde Khoury noted that the exhibition “represents a collaborative achievement beyond our accreditation process – an opportunity to examine our various art and design studio programs as distinct yet also related.”

She also commended the efforts put in by students, faculty and staff toward both the exhibition and the entire accreditation process. Plourde Khoury especially recognized the members of the NASAD steering committee and the “faculty and staff who volunteered their time and expertise.”

The exhibition, and the self-study that was prepared for the accreditation visit, represent a milestone in the school’s drive toward accrediting all its programs. They complement a collective vision to reshape the programs to be in tune with the highest international standards.