Rundstrom relishes time at WSU, accepts position at Savannah College of Art and Design

According to Lisa Rundstrom, outgoing director of WSU Shift Space gallery and interdisciplinary art professor, her time at WSU has been about bridging gaps—both between creative disciplines and members of the community.

Rundstrom said her experiences in Wichita have prepared her to instruct at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia next school year. Rundstrom recently accepted a professorship in general studies with an emphasis on 4D— sculpture that interacts with time and motion.

A WSU alum, Rundstrom returned in 2004 as a professor and has been the director of WSU Shift Space for seven years—seeing the gallery through a relocation and the adoption of a year-round schedule while greatly expanding its community outreach.

“All of the community engagement work that I’ve done here has prepared me for this opportunity,” Rundstrom said. “The search to fill this position was immense and they were looking for someone to fill a very specific skill set and that matched a lot of the things that I’m doing here and without that I would not have been prepared for this position.”

Rundstrom said one of the defining moments of her time at WSU was when Shift Space teamed up with the Muslim Student Association to paint a large-scale mural in the gallery.

“The Shift Space student group hosted it and we all just collaborated with the community and it became just a very moving event,” Rundstrom said. “There was just a mass of people coming together to celebrate diversity and similarities and differences.”

In a sense, such cooperation and camaraderie can become the art itself.
“There is this component to a creative work where you don’t know what will happen, and for me, that was always within our community,” Rundstrom said.

Beyond their utility as creative outlets, Rundstrom said that such community projects at Shift Space provided a platform for opening dialogue on social issues.

“I feel like people have that interest but they just don’t have a way in,” Rundstrom said. “They’re very interested, they’re supportive, but there’s not a platform for them to engage, and the gallery is that platform—a platform for engagement with the social issues that affect us all.”

From an artistic standpoint, Rundstrom said one of the strengths she has refined while at WSU is her ability to interweave design and studio components with conceptual art in her 4D work.

Such 4D components can take on many forms in art—from sensors that respond to viewers to interactive microphones to the wearable art of Project Runaway.

Rundstrom said here at WSU she finds herself bridging the gap between the disciplines of fine arts and graphic arts, and that she expects to challenge herself and her students with an elevated level of interdisciplinary work in Savannah.

“I’ll have the opportunity to engage with students doing industrial design, fashion design, other types of performance beyond performance art, and so I believe it will push me in bridging those areas for myself and my students.”
Ultimately, Rundstrom said she will remember her time at WSU fondly and that her experiences—both as a professor and as a gallery director have prepared her for the next step in her career.

“I feel very fortunate for getting to have the experiences I’ve had here.”