Internationally Known Artist, Designer Ian Stallings Receives Honorary Doctorate of Arts from KCAD

Posted May 9, 2022 in Commencement, Interior Design, Scholarship

A person dressed in academic regalia speaking at a podium on stage.Stallings delivered a keynote address to KCAD's graduating class during Commencement at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center in Grand Rapids. 

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) awarded San Francisco-based artist, designer, developer, and urban planner Ian Stallings with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts degree as part of the college’s 2022 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7. 

“It is a great honor to be recognized by KCAD for the many facets of my career thus far,” Stallings said. “I am exhilarated about the future opportunities to foster relationships with this fine creative community and hope to be a resource for all.” 

Stallings graduated from the California College of the Arts in 1999 and established his design firm in 2004. Their notable residential and commercial projects developed worldwide. His acclaimed design philosophy aims to create functional and aesthetic notions unique to the client. Stallings moved from San Francisco to East Lansing as the COVID-19 pandemic arose, reaching out to KCAD shortly thereafter to begin collaborative opportunities.  

“I have been impressed with the sophistication of the students, staff, and community that surround KCAD,” Ian said. “It is a remarkable place that I am very grateful to find myself being a part of now. There are a lot of artists and designers coming out of the college who inspire me a great deal. They are going to show us all kinds of new and interesting advances in the creative world.” 

In December 2021, he established the Ian Stallings Design Endowed Scholarship to empower and support those pursuing their education at KCAD in recognition of the important role of designers and artists to solve real-world problems. 

“We have enjoyed having Ian on our campus and are looking forward to future opportunities for him to connect with our students and programs during visits, critiques, and presentations,” said KCAD President Tara McCrackin. “Ian has a vast amount of knowledge and experience to share with our campus community, and we are grateful for his support and willingness to serve as a mentor to KCAD students.” 

Three people dressed in black robes and academic regalia smiling for the camera.Stallings with KCAD Dean of Academic Affairs Stephen Halko (left) and KCAD President Tara McCrackin (right).

In May, Stallings will restore operations for the Wabash International Art Residency (WIAR), a program near his childhood home in Huntington, Indiana, that he founded in 2019 but was idled during the pandemic. With his leadership, WIAR provides artists with support, housing and studio space, where artists create bodies of work to exhibit in that region. One piece of art from each resident artist is added to a permanent collection, provided for display in public areas throughout the Northern Wabash River Valley. 

“The supportive and healthy culture that has been created at KCAD is worth focusing on,” Stallings said. “The way critiques are structured is not driven by ego, but rather by nurturing talent to help keep them moving forward. It is very attractive and the kind of culture I like to be involved in.”