PSC welcomes new Visual Arts Department head Alaina Plowdrey
Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
Alaina Plowdrey’s doctorate dissertation focuses on “phenomenological and deconstructionist philosophies of color perception and consciousness.”
Yes, you guessed correctly. Plowdrey is, of course, an artist.
She is also the new Pensacola State College Visual Arts Department head, replacing Krist Lien who retired in December.
Plowdrey ─ approachable and engaging ─ previously served as the director of the Saint Leo University Key West Education Center. She not only oversaw administrative duties at the facility, but also taught philosophy courses at the university. In addition, she has more than 11 years of experience teaching all levels of studio art, critical theory, and art history at various institutions. Plowdrey has been at Pensacola State for just over a week but is excited about her new position.
“It’s very rich,” she said of the Visual Arts Department. “The department building is stunning; it’s amazing how the endowments have helped make this such a wonderful facility. The faculty are all very talented and we have students coming in and out and they seem to be excited to be here. It just seems like an exciting, vibrant environment to be part of.”
Plowdrey is an accomplished artist who has exhibited her work throughout the Florida Keys, New York City, New Jersey, Oregon, Ohio, and across her home state of Michigan.
She has participated in numerous art panel conferences, speaking on topics ranging from “Chromatic Interplays in Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry” to “The Male Nude in Art.”
“Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Plowdrey said. “It’s part of that innate human desire to create.”
Plowdrey is currently working toward her doctorate degree from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, based in Maine. She earned her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from the New York Academy of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from the College for Creative Studies in Michigan. She earned her Associate of Fine Arts degree from Delta College, also in Michigan.
“Ms. Plowdrey brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to her new position as Department Head for our Visual Arts Program,” said PSC President Ed Meadows. “Her experience in academic management and leadership will serve us well. We are fortunate to find someone as capable as Alaina Plowdrey to assume this very important position at Pensacola State.”
Plowdrey has held many solo exhibitions of her work and specializes in art that focuses on military, summer themes and the origin of the universe. She said her inspiration comes not just from arts, but from psychoanalysts including Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. She talks with ease about subjects ranging from cultural relativism to existentialism but is also knowledgeable about the nuts-and-bolts inner workings of academic administration.
“I oversaw the (Saint Leo University Key West Education Center) and worked with faculty members, administration, the armed forces (being located on NAS Key West), and helped foster community relationships to enhance overall offerings and drive enrollments,” Plowdrey said. “And I taught, created art, and worked toward my Ph.D. at the same time.”
She said her immediate goals as PSC Visual Arts Department head is to learn more about the Department, the College and the Northwest Florida community. She also wants to strengthen interdisciplinary relationships with other programs and departments at PSC, then “create relationships with the community and local educational partners to see how we can join together and further the impact of the offerings from our department and the adjoining Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts as a mecca for creative thinking, discussion, and creation.”