Three outstanding Moore alumni—book artist e bond ’96, artist and designer Janell Wysock ’04 and artist and fashion designer Dom Streater ’10—have been selected as 2021 Distinguished Alumni.
They will be honored in a virtual ceremony Saturday, June 5, at 6:30 pm. Since 1995, the Distinguished Alumni Award has recognized alumni who have achieved significant professional accomplishments, participated in civic and service groups for the betterment of the community and have helped to advance the mission of the College.
“I feel really, really honored,” said Wysock. “Moore has been such a special place for me.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by all three alums. After graduating, Bond spent a few years at Moore as an adjunct faculty member and remembers her time as an undergrad fondly.
“I loved that it was this insulated safe space for women to be really serious about their craft,” she said. “And I liked that it was small, but in the middle of this really big city, so you could have these intimate relationships but then you could go out into the world and still be in a big place.”
Streater, winner of Project Runway Season 12 and Project Runway: All Stars, attended Young Artists Workshop classes at Moore when she was young. She said it was a gut feeling to choose to go to a historically all-women's art college.
“It's a really big push toward female empowerment, which I thought was kind of awesome,” she said.
Bond is a senior digital designer for the athleisurewear company Athleta. She also runs her own studio called roughdrAftbooks, where she makes one-of-a-kind artists books, printed pieces and drawings. She works from her home in Alameda, CA, doing what she calls her daily life and the art part of her life.
“This room, when I turn this way it's all art, like this is my studio,” she said, turning her laptop to show her space on Zoom during an interview. “That's the part that matters for me. But what I learned at Moore is that idea of juggling or figuring out what is the most important to you. There's a million ways to live a life. I can be a designer and a bookbinder. That can happen.”
Wysock, who owns Janell Wysock Textiles in Philadelphia, said a simple yarn trick in one of her classes with former textile faculty member Lewis Knauss helped her decide her future. She had recently changed her major to textile from fashion.
“He started showing me something that I learned from my grandmother, which is winding yarn around your hand in a figure eight. We call it a butterfly,” she said. “People were standing around, yawning, and here is Lewis, showing us this simple thing that is so beautiful and I am jumping out of my skin and being like, ‘Oh my gosh, I really am in the right place.’”
Wysock has stayed connected to Moore by being active on the Alumni Council, participating in Moore’s internship fairs and hosting student interns at her studio.
Streater, who has been collaborating with other designers and raising her young daughter in Philadelphia since her Project Runway wins, is releasing a new collection of slip dresses and shirt dresses this summer that are inspired by nature.
“They are based on some photographs I took during COVID when I actually had a chance to go outside and start to really appreciate the environment again,” she said. “I started manipulating them and sketching and painting textiles, and I turned those into some really stunning prints. I'm actually quite proud of them.”
Each of the three distinguished alumni recalled how they were able to go outside the boundaries of their majors.
“My advice always is to try a lot of things,” said bond. “Don’t let your major decide for you what you think you should be doing. Dabble in a lot of things and see what you like. I felt like that in 1996 but even now more so because there are no limits to what a career or a life could be.”
“Something I really appreciated was the ability to have so many different courses,” Streater said. “It made me a more well-rounded person. It’s about embracing that culture of absorbing all this information and learning about what other artists are doing, reaching across the aisle to learn what other departments are doing.”
Wysock recommends current Moore students take advantage of everything teachers offer, especially when it’s uncomfortable.
“I loved how absolutely challenging (Moore is) and the way I was really pushed to my limits,” she said. “You learn so much in that space. It was just amazing.”
Join the ceremony to honor the 2021 Distinguished Alumni on Saturday, June 5, at 6:30 pm. The awards ceremony is part of the 2021 Alumni Reunion, also happening June 5, with all events online, including the Annual Juried Alumni Exhibition. Here & There: Alumni Invitational exhibition will be on view at The Galleries at Moore, as well as works from the Class of 2020, beginning June 5.