ArtEZ Loses Department Head to Tragic Accident
Late last week Wilma Sommers, course director of Product Design at ArtEZ in Arnhem, lost her life in a tragic accident.
She was "passionate and inspiring ... but most of all a remarkable personality," says the school.
Sommers headed the product design department for the least 12 years and "was dedicated with heart and soul to design education. Wilma taught her students to be critical, to dare to dream, to learn to do."
"The good thing about the department that Wilma led was the consistent way in which designers-to-be were prepared for their professional lives," says designer Gilian Schrofer, founder of the agency Concern. “Of course students would wrestle with themselves and borne out of that were not just concepts, but actual products that were feasible.”
"She was the image of the school," says Klaas Kuiken, a former student. "A lot of people were scared of her. One minute you were sharing a cigarette and a beer with her, but five minutes later in the classroom she'd become very harsh again. I appreciated that.”
"Wilma always gave her students a note at the start of their studies," says another former student Juliette Warmenhoven. "It said you are going to live as an artist and not go for a job. Your job will be your life and if you can not manage that then you should look for something else.""She was only scary because she was honest," says colleague Sander Luske. "She wanted the best for the students so she was very direct in her opinions about their work and about their ideas. This could be very confronting.”
Respected for her passion for simple solutions and precise detailing, Sommers never let a student get away with mimicry or half-baked ideas. Her goal was to make each of them as authentic as she could.
“We really have lost the heart of the department,” says Luske.
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