Artemisia and Désign

I go to college at a large midwestern university. Our campus has maybe 2 dozen major buildings — a charming if a bit eclectic mixture of styles from gothic, classical, and art deco to modern and, well, just plain ugly — and like most universities these buildings are named for various historical benefactors. Ideally these names are intended to honor those who made great contributions to the university or to the world in general, and a number of them are. Many are also named for those lucky people with the ability to write lots of zero on a check (it's harder than you might think). When I was an engineering student for example the department was in the process of constructing of a new facility to house labs and offices. The building was almost but not quite finished, and as of yet unnamed. I can remember one day at a meeting the dean of the school in a speech to the students and their parents joking that, should anyone like to write a 6 million dollar check for the naming rights, their son or daughter could start the next semester with their very own building.

The point of all of this is that most buildings on campus have such a name, but not all of them. One such case in fact is the building in which I spending most of my time these days, what we call the "Art and Design" building. The name leaves a bit to be desired, but I think I prefer this to having a building named for a mid-level GM executive or the like.

We students of the Art and Design building are lately thinking a lot about our futures, and our graduation, and our impending careers of fame and fortune that will no doubt give us the kind of walking around money to have whole institutes named in our honors. But before all of that can get started we have a senior show to plan, and like the Titanic themed prom I once lived through and the Victorian Murder Mystery Wedding I will one day live through, this thing needs a theme, and that my friends had me thinking: what if I've got this whole "Art and Design" thing wrong?

It turns out (in the completely fictitious world in my head, stay with me here) that our building was named in honor of someone, or two someones to be exact.  Meet the titular Art and Design: Zelma Artemisia and Pavel Désign.

Artemisia and Désign

Artemisia was named for Artemisia Gentileschi, one of my friend's favorite artists, an Italian Baroque painter in the early 15th century. Désign got his name mostly because I like characters with diacritical marks. The two were students at the University around the end of the 19th century, and went on to found one of the most influential secret societies of artists and designers, which most certainly never existed and does not even now control the seemingly capricious course of art and culture.