MCA Announces Facebook and Instagram Creative Lead Ji Lee as 2015-16 Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer

by - March 09, 2016

Memphis College of Art will present Ji Lee, the 2015-16 Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, in a series of events on Tuesday, April 5 in Rust Hall’s Callicott Auditorium, 1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park. A Q&A session of student-generated questions moderated by MCA Assistant Professor Andrea Crowley will take place from noon–1:30 p.m. Lee’s lecture, the Transformative Power of Personal Projects, will take place later that day at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a special reception in the Main Gallery at 5:30 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.
Named as one of the 50 most influential designers in America by Fast Company, Lee’s work has appeared on ABC News and inTime MagazineThe GuardianWired and the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York, among many others. Lee regularly contributes to The New York Times, in addition to his full-time position as a creative lead for Facebook and teaching as an instructor for the School of Visual Arts in New York. His previous experience also includes working as Creative Director for both Google and Droga5. Lee credits the transformation of both his personal life and professional career to projects he created outside of the workplace including Word as ImageThe Bubble Project and Univers Revolved: A 3-D Alphabet. During his lecture, Lee will discuss how these personal projects affected the upward trajectory of his personal and professional life, and share suggestions with the audience to create their own personal projects that will benefit them.
Lee earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Communication Design at the Parsons School of Design in 1995. He has spoken at numerous institutions including MIT, Harvard University, Columbia University, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum.
About the Downing Pryor Visiting Lecture Series:
The Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series was created to honor the late Downing Pryor (1917-1990) and support the mission of Memphis College of Art. Downing Pryor devoted 32 years as a member of MCA’s board of trustees, serving three times as its chairman (1961, 1967 and 1972). Mr. Pryor, born into the automobile business, was heavily involved in Memphis politics, serving as a member of the Shelby County Quarterly Court (now the County Commission) from 1964 to 1968 and the first city council from 1968 to 1972. In 1968, Pryor was the main mediator between the city and striking sanitation workers and, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he represented the city at Dr. King’s funeral services in Atlanta. He was recognized for his outstanding service as a civic leader, businessman and patron of the arts along with his contributions in the areas of education and race relations.
Downing Pryor saw the arts in a very special light, writing, “Each adventure with art adds depth and breadth to the mind and heart that enable the individual to go on to the next experience with heightened perception and understanding.” Friends and family members endowed the lecture series as an ongoing reminder of what one truly honorable man can accomplish in his lifetime and beyond.
The lecture series offers free public programs featuring some of the nation’s most distinguished speakers in the area of the arts. The college welcomes contributions to the endowment fund, which makes this prestigious lecture series possible. To make a gift to this Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturers Series, please visit or call 901-272-5115.
For more information, visit
Photo: Ji Lee

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