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Culture, community

14 June 2014 By Carley Milligan, Arts and Life Editor No Comments

After more than 25 years, founder and director of the Asian Arts & Culture Center Suewhei Shieh has retired, leaving behind her a pair of large and important shoes to fill.

The department began under Shieh’s direction in 1971 and has continued to educate both Towson University and its community on the culture and history of the Asian arts.

The department hoped to find a new director who could carry on this directive.

Joanna Pecore, newly appointed director of the College of Fine Arts and Communication’s Asian Arts & Culture Center, hopes to not only continue the work of Shieh, but also bring new and exciting ideas to the Towson community.

“I am so thrilled to be here,” Pecore said. “I love brainstorming, considering new ideas and exploring all kinds of connections.”

Pecore will be coming to Towson from her previous position as the senior education specialist at the Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, of the Smithsonian Institution. As an expert in education programming and learning as well as East and Southeast Asian studies, she believes that her new position will open up many opportunities for her to achieve her goals as an educator of Asian arts and culture.

“I have many ideas that I hope can benefit students and the community, such as artist residencies, programs for schools and teachers and opportunities to engage with Asian arts and culture through digital media,” Pecore said.

She said that when considering taking the position at Towson, the history and location of the center on a university campus was exciting to her.

“I know that the Center has presented world-class Asian exhibitions and performances in the center of a campus filled with creative students, faculty and communities,” Pecore said. “What a wonderful environment for introducing and experiencing all aspects of Asian arts and culture.”

Pecore said that she is most looking forward to working in a high-energy environment that is full of education, creativity and culture and urges both faculty and students to contact her with any ideas regarding the center.

However, her work does not stop on Towson’s campus. Pecore is hoping to reach out to the surrounding community as well. She said she aspires to make Towson a place where everyone can learn about Asian art forms, which benefits not only students but also local Asian artistic communities.

“I think it is important to create bridges across communities — Asian and non-Asian and on and off campus,” Pecore said. “There are so many rich Asian cultural resources in our communities that the Towson University community can enjoy and appreciate.”

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