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Department of Art Hosts Retirement Celebration for Longtime Faculty Members

The Department of Art will host a retirement celebration for John Francis, an associate professor of graphic design, and Richard Young, a professor of painting, from 4-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in the Hemingway Gallery at the Visual Arts Center.

More about Richard Young

Richard Young in Iceland

Richard Young joined the art department in 1994 as the gallery directory and served as the department’s first elected chair from 2003-2013. He currently teaches classes in painting, chairs the University Art Collection Committee, and serves as associate chair and departmental liaison for the Center of Fine Arts slated to open in 2019.

Other community activities include service as commissioner for the City of Boise, Department of Arts and History, member-at-large for the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and trustee of Boise Art Museum. During his most recent sabbatical, he participated in an artist residency in Skagastrond, Iceland.

Young, said Interim Provost Tony Roark, has “left an indelible mark on the art department and Boise State.”

Young’s colleagues, professor Anika Smulovitz and Kirsten Furlong, a lecturer and director of the Visual Arts Center, echoed Roark’s sentiment, both praising Young as a longtime mentor.

“He is such an outspoken advocate for the arts in the region and has been an outstanding leader for our department,” said Furlong.

“Without his support and encouragement, I would not be where I am today nor would the art department be moving into our new building,” said Smulovitz.

“Richard,” said Roark, “is a quintessential ‘stand-up guy,’ and as tall as he is, that’s saying a lot. For as long as I’ve known and worked with him, he’s always been strongly on the side of students, his colleagues, and the very best qualities of the university. He’s a person of great integrity and compassion. These traits have made him incredibly successful as a department chair and active member of the Boise art community.”

Roark also noted Young’s “subversive streak,” visible in his paintings of Godzilla and “punctuated by his recent artist-in-residency in Iceland.

“He’s keenly perceptive, and uses his sharp sense of humor not only to create amazing works of art, but also to clarify complex situations and to keep folks honest … He’s a fan of Neil Young and Sonic Youth, has good taste in beer, and is an accomplished fly fisher. He’s loved by many, many people here on campus and in far-flung places.”

See Young’s work online at

More about John Francis

John Francis

John Francis joined the art department in 2001 as a faculty member in graphic design. He is an active member of the local American Institute of Graphic Arts chapter and recently coordinated TypePlace, an international exchange between design students at Boise State and a university in Hildesheim, Germany.

He has helped Boise State increase its global footprint as the university’s first International/Global Learning Opportunities Faculty Fellow.

“I met John Francis about 15 years ago when I was organizing our first ever study abroad fair. A confident man came into the room and said to me, ‘My name is John Francis and I want to start a study abroad program for art students to go Japan,'” said Corrine Henke, director of Global Learning Opportunities at the Center for Global Education.

Since then, Francis has led short-term study abroad programs for art and design in Japan. Francis has taken nearly 100 Boise State students to Asia, said Henke. The program started by Francis has fostered joint exhibitions of art in the U.S. and in Japan.

“It’s a very innovative program and John has done an amazing job over the years.”

Francis, said Ami Tain, management assistant/passport program manager for Global Learning Opportunities, impressed her with his dedication to “students, to Boise State University, to his craft and to the Japanese culture,” she said.

“I am beyond privileged to have had the opportunity to work with someone so student-focused and who is a genuine cultural liaison.”

Recently, Francis has enjoyed success as a photographer in the public art realm. Five of his photographs hang as banners at the Main Street Valley Regional Transit Center in Boise.

See more of his work online at