Graduate Fine Arts

Posted May 10, 2019
  • Faculty members Franceca Russello Ammon, Matt Freedman, and Jacob Rivkin

Weitzman School Faculty Receive G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Awards

Francesca Russello Ammon, associate professor of historic preservation and city and regional planning; Matt Freedman, lecturer in fine arts; and Jacob Rivkin, lecturer in fine arts, have received G. Holmes Perkins Teaching Awards for 2018-2019. Named in honor of the architect and longtime faculty member who served as dean of the School from 1951-1971, the awards are based on the input of students at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design to recognize distinguished teaching and innovation in the classroom, seminar, or studio. 

Francesca Russello Ammon is a cultural historian of the post-World War II American city, with an emphasis on the built environment and landscape change. Her work is deeply important to our understanding of how cities evolve through design, planning, engineering, and technology. Ammon teaches courses in both the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, including Topics in Historic Preservation: Photography and the City.  “She is an innovative teacher," said one student, in the nomination. "She provides a new perspective and approach in teaching planning history. She brings primary materials to the classroom which help to keep students engaged and excited about learning history."

Matt Freedman is a sculptor, graphic artist, performer, writer and curator with a background in cartooning and anthropology. His current work explores the consequences when DIY versions of modern spectacles revive half-remembered cultural myths. This spring Freedman taught Critical Issues in Art: Praxis & Poiesis. “He's helpful to all of us across the board no matter what we're using materially or our subject matter," one student said, in nominating Freedman. "He pushes his students to think in non-conventional ways and has absolutely made me a better student and artist since being at Penn.”

Jacob Rivkin is an interdisciplinary artist who makes animations and sculptures that focus on the experience of landscape through memory, desire, and wonder. Rivkin currently teaches Foundations of Art, Design, and Digital Culture. Of Rivkin's impact in the classroom, one student said, “He has ignited my creativity and inspired me to do things I never thought were possible. His class is my favorite at Penn so far, and I’ve learned so much and have had fun doing it.”

The three will be honored at the Weitzman School's Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2019.