Top 40 Under 40: Aidan Rowe

Avenue Magazine names Arts faculty member as a leading Edmontonian for his contributions to the city's art scene and cultivation of new talents

Isha Thompson - 29 October 2010

It's official, Art and Design assistant professor Aidan Rowe is at the top of his game.

He has been named one of Avenue Magazine's Top 40 Under 40-the annual list that celebrates "the best and brightest Edmontonians leading the city in the 21st century." At 38-years-old, the visual communication design/interactive new media instructor has made the cut for his commitment to connecting Edmonton's art scene to the rest of the world.

Rowe said the praise he has received is due in part to the committed faculty and staff in his department who support programs and projects that encourage students to interact with artists from around the world. A current project called The Gift gives Rowe's students the opportunity to collaborate with other art and design students from seven universities located around the world, creating corporate gifts for various companies.

"We're really big on bringing the community in and pushing our students out to the local, national, and international communities," says Rowe. "We're interested in them learning about other cultures, but also how they communicate their ideas."

Since 2007, Rowe has been a committed faculty member who challenges and engages his students by exposing them to community-building projects worldwide. He has accompanied several of his students to the 2009 Four Designers Conference in London and the Design Experience Conference in New York. Rowe's exceptional ability to link his students to various education methods outside their comfort of the university has not gone unnoticed.

"During each of these trips Professor Rowe also organized studio visits with high-profile designers and design firms in addition to visiting design schools that introduced students to a variety of models for teaching and learning," says Chair of the Department of Art and Design Betsy Boone. "This is teaching as its most excellent, and we are delighted that our students have an opportunity to work with an educator of this caliber."

Aside from teaching, Rowe is also a board member on the Edmonton Arts Council and was recently given the position as Chair of the council's public art committee.
He shares the spotlight with other top 40s recognized by Avenue who hold a range of professions; including, entrepreneurs, journalists, and social advocates.

As a graduate of the U of A Visual Communication and Design program in 1995, Rowe attributes Edmonton's growing population of talented artists to the their ability to access top-notch education from his alma mater.

"We have world class education here in design…every year we have 50 to 60 graduates that are looking to be professional artists and professional designers. So you have this huge base of well-trained, well-educated, excited graduates," says Rowe.

This story originally appeared on the Faculty of Arts website.