Meet the New Class

Valerie Lowder
BFA

Describe yourself in three words.
Strong, sensitive, and compassionate

Why did you choose SAIC?
I was drawn to SAIC because of its open structure. I thrive in academic environments that allow for some freedom. I also want to stay in Chicago since I love the city and am not ready to leave it.

What are you passionate about? 
I am passionate about representation, healing, dancing, investing in creativity, and my plants. 

Where do you find inspiration? 
I’m inspired by the human face and body and the way they speak a language that is universal yet intimate. I also find inspiration from my dreams, which are a window to my subconscious and my inner world. I’m inspired by the way I can make tangible things that express invisible things.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC?
I hope to further develop my craft and explore new ways to tell stories through art making. I also hope to make new artist friends, explore the city, and have fun.


Ngọc Quyên Nguyễn
BFA

Describe yourself in three words.
Adventurous, enthusiastic, and hungry (for success!)

Why did you choose SAIC?
I had a strong impression of SAIC after a meeting with a professor during the portfolio review day. After being accepted, I decided that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago would be my perfect destination.

What are you passionate about?
Other than art, I am also interested in the psychology field. In the future, I hope I can learn the best of both fields and pursue a career that could bring out a real change.

Where do you find inspiration?
I often find inspiration from the people and things around me. Even the most simple and ordinary detail can spark a great inspiration.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC?
I hope I can have an amazing time here, meet new people, make great friends, and learn more about the world around me. I look forward to developing my abilities as an artist and overcoming my limits.


Hai-Wen Lin
MDes, Fashion, Body and Garment

Describe yourself in three words.
Has nice hair

Why did you choose SAIC?
I was always drawn to SAIC’s Fashion, Body and Garment program; even the fact that it wasn’t just called “fashion design” said a lot to me. I make work that can be worn or is about the body, so fashion seemed to make sense, but I don’t always make garments! SAIC stood out for having dedicated departments in fibers, performance, and fashion. In a somewhat ironic way, I’ve been telling people that I chose SAIC because it’s the only fashion design program I could find where I could get away with not making clothing!

What are you passionate about?
I’m genuinely passionate about art! But my definition of what I consider art is admittedly broad, and there's little that I don’t consider art, so it’s like I’m saying I’m passionate about everything. A lot of my work tries to take this expansive view to democratize art and empower people to view their own lived experiences as art.

Where do you find inspiration?
Much of what I do is informed by my Taiwanese cultural heritage, the natural world, or just everyday life. Inspiration could be anything from the plants around me to, like, dumplings. And I guess I mean “everyday” both in a boring, ordinary sense, like brushing your teeth, but also in a colorful, queer sense of how people try to keep their lives interesting and celebratory! I’m really interested in the systems, rules, and cultural customs that people’s lives are formed around and how people either cope with, accept, or subvert these things.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC?
Recently, my work has been increasingly conceptually driven, but making work this way starts to feel like every single creative decision needs to be justified by some sort of historical, theoretical, or political thought. During my time at SAIC, I’m going to try to give myself more space to have a more intuitive making process and focus more on churning out a lot of work rather than a select few overthought pieces. I want to feel more confident about what I’m trying to say with my work, and I don’t know that that’s possible without making a lot of things!


Sarita Kvam
MA, Art Therapy and Counseling

Describe yourself in three words.
Intuitive, playful, and driven 

Why did you choose SAIC?
SAIC's culture, where intersectional identities are recognized, makes me believe I would thrive and be valued. I was drawn to the Art Therapy department because of its focus on cultivating the artist’s identity in tandem with their identity as counselor, as well as the curriculum’s ethical approach to healing. 

What are you passionate about?
Finding sustainable and creative approaches to support wellness in disenfranchised communities, specifically for women and fem-identifying immigrants and refugees.

Where do you find inspiration?
In the emotional journeys of my loved ones, the exploration of my multicultural experience, the joys and challenges of our global community, my own growth, and in the movement of water. 

What do you hope to accomplish in your time at SAIC?
I’m excited to better my understanding of self and others, collaborate with passionate and imaginative peers, and learn how to employ art to advance collective well-being.

A portrait of a young, Black woman with long hair
A portrait of a young, Asian woman with glasses and a bob
A portrait of a young woman with black hair and dark lipstick
A portrait of a young woman with short, dark brown hair and dark lipstick