On Friday, October 16, 2015, what seemed like countless of Florida State University (FSU) students, faculty, and staff gathered together for the opening reception to Dr. Tom Anderson’s gallery exhibition entitled “The Social Selfie Project.” The celebration commenced at 5pm in the William Johnston Building Gallery room 1085 on FSU’s campus. The evening was dedicated to honoring Dr. Tom Anderson’s retirement and 34 years of dedication to the art education department and university.
Dr. Anderson is a Professor of Art Education at FSU. In March, Dr. Anderson was named Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association, convened in New York City. Dr. Anderson is perhaps best known for promulgating a novel approach to art criticism now widely known as the “art for life” model. Since 1983, when he earned his PhD in art from the University of Georgia and joined the FSU faculty, Dr. Anderson has mentored about 40 doctoral students—a remarkable record. He has authored numerous books, chapters, reviews and articles; led myriad art education workshops; appeared as the featured speaker at dozens of national and international conferences; and has been the editor of several journals and other publications. He co-authored Art for Life, a textbook that has been widely used in programs across North America and now is being translated into Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
Dr. Anderson is credited with helping the FSU graduate program in art education rise to national prominence. In fact, FSU Art Education Department Chair Dr. Marcia Rosal declares Dr. Anderson—who joined the faculty in 1983 and now is its longest-serving member—”the very heart of our program.”
“The Social Selfie Project” consisted of a series of selfies taken by Dr. Tom Anderson, the “Selfie King.” The photographs date back to the 1970’s and continue all the way to the present day. Dr. Anderson captured precious moments spent with his family and friends, community, traveling the world, and matriculation through the years in his photographs. Also included in his project were selfies submitted by others. A short caption or brief story accompanied each photo in order to explain that particular picture’s significance.
After guests had the opportunity to view the project and partake in the delicious hors d’oeuvres and selection of wines offered, everyone gathered inside the gallery for a flute performance and a series of speeches. Dr. David Gussak spoke about Dr. Tom Anderson’s achievements over the course of the years and his commitment of service to the university. Dr. Anderson also gave a speech thanking his family and guests for their attendance, and he further explained the purpose of his social selfie project.
The evening concluded with the guests gathering together downstairs for more refreshments and drinks.