Tara Titone the New Director of the LSU Hilltop Arboretum

LSU Hilltop Arboretum at twilight, illuminated building reflected on pond water

Tara Titone has been named the new director of the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, a “living” museum of native plants in Baton Rouge, where students and faculty conduct research.

Tara Titone“We look forward to working with Tara! We are sure the under her stewardship the Hilltop Arboretum, a corner of Paradise in the middle of Baton Rouge, will continue to grow and blossom!” said Alkis Tsolakis, Dean of the College of Art & Design and interim director of the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.

Titone has over 20 years’ experience working in the private, public and nonprofit sector. From her time spent between landscape architecture firms in New York, NY, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Baton Rouge, LA, she has specialized in leadership, fundraising, community outreach and sustainable design. She received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree from Louisiana State University. 

Previously, Titone served as Director of Finance and Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer of Build Baton Rouge, where she directed all agency operations and oversaw the design and implementation of community-driven programs and master plans.  

Titone enjoys interacting with a wide array of stakeholders, community partners and volunteers, as well as design professionals and consultants, as she believes that exceptional spaces require the thoughtful assembly of diverse perspectives, experiences and expertise.

She will oversee the nationally-recognized Hilltop facility for research, teaching and service activities and assist the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum with fundraising for operational support and educational programs to engage the broader community. 

About Hilltop Arboretum

The LSU Hilltop Arboretum is a 14-acre museum of native plants located on historic Highland Road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The award-winning facility designed by Lake|Flato Architects of San Antonio, Texas, offers beautiful views of the natural landscape, including a pond with an elevated wooden boardwalk surrounded by native aquatic plants. The arboretum showcases an extensive collection of more than 150 species of Southern native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Hilltop strives to educate its audience about the importance of sustainable design for a healthier future and how each of us can make a difference within our own community.

The arboretum is striving to be a nationally recognized center for the study of plants and landscape design. An integral part of the College of Art & Design, students and faculty of the college, particularly the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, use the arboretum for research, teaching, and service activities. The Friends of Hilltop Arboretum are continually developing education programs to engage the broader community, and through fundraising and programming, are providing operational support.

Learn more about Hilltop Arboretum.

Learn more about the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.



Allison Young Receives 2023 ATLAS Grant for Book on South African Artist

Allison YoungAllison Young, assistant professor of art history, is a 2023 recipient of an Award to Louisiana Artists and Scholars (ATLAS) grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents for her current book project on the South African born artist Gavin Jantjes.

The book will be the most comprehensive study to date on the oeuvre of pioneering Jantjes, and “situates his work at the nexus of anti-apartheid activism and avant-garde artistic milieux of the late twentieth century,” Young wrote.

A prolific printmaker, Jantjes is one of the primary African Diaspora artists with demonstrable connections to international postwar movements such as Pop and Conceptual Art. A leading arts advocate of the Black British Art Movement, he wrote the agenda for Britain’s “New Internationalism” project of the 1990s, making an impact on institutional approaches towards representation, globalization, and equity at the turn of the millennium.  

“My scholarship reflects on the mediation that takes place between the interior space of an artwork and the social, political, and cultural contexts with which it is deeply intertwined,” Young said.   

“Ultimately, the project will be of benefit beyond enhancing the scholarship on Jantjes’ art alone – it is demonstrative of a truly transnational research methodology, and makes the case that diaspora artists like Jantjes should be understood as central, not peripheral, to a truly global history of postwar art.”  

The Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars (ATLAS) program provides support for major scholarly and artistic productions with potential to have a broad impact on a regional and/or national level, and on a broad academic and/or artistic community.

Young is assistant professor of contemporary art history at the LSU School of Art, and an affiliate faculty member in the department of African and African American Studies (AAAS). A specialist in postcolonial and contemporary art of the Global South, her scholarship centers primarily on African and African-Diasporic artists and art histories, with focus on questions surrounding migration, transnationalism, and political engagement in contemporary art. She is engaged in research on the intersection of contemporary art, environmentalism, and social justice in Louisiana.

This competitive award will enable her to take leave from teaching for the academic year 2023-24, and to dedicate this time fully to research and writing. She also plans to travel to the United Kingdom and South Africa to conduct additional research during the fellowship year.

Learn more about the LSU art history program.

Nam Wins 2023 TDC Award for Living Typography

hands on plants spelling word LOVE

Hye Yeon Nam, associate professor of digital art, won a TDC Award in Lettering for “Living Typography,” a robotically seeded living interface for collective music making.

Living Typography is composed of a microcontroller, capacitive touch sensors, plants, and planting media. The interface is grown from robotically planted seeds in computationally generated planting patterns. The living matters – the plants and soil – act as a sensor network. Touching a zone of the living interface will play a sample from a sound palette of environmental recordings.

“People can touch, feel, listen to, and experience Living Typography while they appreciate the beauty of typography and nature,” Nam said.

Nam was art director for the project, collaborating with Brendan Harmon, assistant professor of landscape architecture, and Ka Hei Cheng, Ph.D. candidate in Experimental Music and Digital Media (EMDM).


Living Typography from Hye Yeon Nam on Vimeo.

Echo from Hye Yeon Nam on Vimeo.

About TDC

The TDC competition, established in 1953, is the longest running, most prestigious, global typography and type design competition. Now in its 69th year, these awards are all about how letterforms are used and drawn, recognizing typographic excellence and celebrating new typeface designs in all global languages.

Dean Alkis Tsolakis Named One of American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2023 Honors Recipients

Portrait of Alkis Tsolakis in suitDean Alcibiades “Alkis” Tsolakis of the LSU College of Art & Design has received the prestigious honorary membership from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). ASLA has announced its 2023 Honors Recipients highlighting some of the most noteworthy landscape architecture practitioners and firms nationwide. Selected by ASLA’s board of trustees, the honors represent the highest recognition ASLA bestows each year.

Tsolakis is dean of the LSU College of Art & Design and a professor of architecture. He earned a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon. Tsolakis was a founding faculty member of the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, where he held several administrative posts and was acting director of the art department. He has practiced architecture and sculpture in Greece, France, and the United States. He was a founder and director of the Drury University Center in Greece and the head of the Department of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He is currently serving as the interim director of the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.

“His accomplishments, informed by his cross-disciplinary, multi-cultural, and international educational philosophies, have inspired LSU’s design students, thereby providing notable service to the profession by educating future landscape architects,” said Lake Douglas, professor emeritus of landscape architecture, in his nomination letter for the honor.

“The 2023 ASLA honorees are changing the world through their approach to landscape architecture—and their work is needed now more than ever,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen (@toreycarter). “In the face of increasingly dangerous weather events and biodiversity stressors, our honorees are using their diverse array of talents to design and create a healthier world and more equitable future for all people.

“The ASLA honorees are the best of the best and represent what is possible in the field of landscape architecture. This is the highest recognition ASLA bestows each year,” said ASLA President Emily O’Mahoney, FASLA. “This year’s recipients join a rarified group; we celebrate and congratulate another standout class of honorees on their well-earned recognition.”

“Landscape architects make the best of our world,” said former Senator Patrick Leahy. “During my years in the Senate, I looked out my window at the Washington Mall and could see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and ending at the Potomac. The landscape architects designed an image recognized throughout the world.”

2023 ASLA Honors Recipients:

  • The ASLA Medal: Patricia O’Donnell, FASLA, Heritage Landscapes, LLC
  • The ASLA Design Medal: James Corner, FASLA, James Corner Field Operations
  • The Community Service Award: Jim Donovan, FASLA
  • The Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal: Sadik Artunç, FASLA, Mississippi State University, Department of Landscape Architecture
  • The LaGasse Medal — Professional: Charles A. Flink II, FASLA, Greenways Incorporated
  • The LaGasse Medal — Nonprofessional: Steven N. Handel PhD, Hon. ASLA, Rutgers University
  • The Landscape Architecture Firm Award: Biohabitats
  • The ASLA Medal of Excellence: Jack Dangermond, Esri
  • The Olmsted Medal: The Cultural Landscape Foundation
  • The ASLA Emerging Professional Medal: Abigail Reimel, ASLA
  • Honorary ASLA Members:
    • Senator Patrick Leahy
    • Chelina Odbert
    • Alcibiades Tsolakis
    • Jared Green
    • Diana Ferguson, Esq.
    • Kristopher Pritchard
    • Devon Henry
    • Gilbert Holmes

The eight honorary members inducted by ASLA are non-landscape architecture professionals recognized for notable service to the profession. Since its inception in 1899, ASLA has inducted only 255 honorary members.

For details about each honoree, visit this link.

For images media may use, visit this link.

Media Contact: Press@asla.org

About ASLA and the ASLA Fund

Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, representing more than 15,000 members. ASLA Mission: Empowering our members to design a sustainable and equitable world through landscape architecture. ASLA Fund Mission: Investing in global, social, and environmental change through the art and science of landscape architecture.

Courtney Klee Selected for the Metropolis Future100

Courtney Klee by LSU stadium

Courtney Klee, MArch 2023. Photo by Georgia Jones.


Recent graduate Courtney Klee, MArch 2023, was selected for the 2023 Metropolis Future100. Chosen by Metropolis Magazine, this award pools the top 100 graduating architecture and interior design students in the United States and Canada. She was nominated by LSU School of Architecture faculty Fabio Capra-Ribeiro, assistant professor, and Sergio Padilla, undergraduate coordinator & instructor.

“Notable for her versatility, breadth of knowledge, and technical skill, Courtney has excelled in studio design courses. She has developed a particular and sophisticated awareness of community and regional issues, and cultivated a practical focus on social, spatial, and environmental justice,” faculty nominators wrote.

“Courtney has shown skill and service acumen as an educator, both in her previous life as a preschool teacher and her excellent work as a tutor and teaching assistant for students in the School of Architecture. Her desire to support and assist others has particularly improved the personal and academic development of first-year students in the undergraduate program at LSU. Courtney has likewise excelled in research, focusing her work on the study of social and economic inequality in Baton Rouge and the ecologically degraded area of South Louisiana referred to as Cancer Alley.

“In short, Courtney is a model student and colleague in the architecture school, representing the highest in academic achievement, dedication, personal warmth, and demonstrated willingness to serve others.”

“It’s an honor to have been selected as one of Metropolis’ Future 100 along with many other talented student designers across the country,” Klee said. “I’d like to specifically thank Dr. Fabio Capra Riberio and Sergio Padilla for their nomination and mentorship throughout my time at LSU.”

Klee said that her graduate education at LSU “explored topics including coastal restoration, green corridors, afrofuturism, ways to decolonize design, strategies for net zero architecture, and more, have allowed me to grow as a community and environmentally focused designer prepared to tackle pressing challenges.”

Post-graduation, Klee is excited to be joining the Waggonner & Ball team in New Orleans as a Design Associate II.

About the Metropolis Future100

Following the debut of the Future100 program in 2021, Metropolis set out once again this year to designate the top graduating architecture and interior design students in the United States and Canada. The program, sponsored by CannonDesign, Daltile, Formica, Interface, Keilhauer, Rapt, Sherwin-Williams, and SOM, invited the most talented students from the class of 2022 to apply. The final 100 are featured below. 

Nominated by their instructors and mentors, these 56 interior design and 44 architecture students were chosen by the Metropolis team. They hail from some of the best schools in North America, from Tuskegee University to California College of the Arts, and call anywhere from Orlando, Florida, to Toronto home. A diverse group—with many identifying as female, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, or neurodiverse—they are leaders on their campuses, advocating for equity and inclusion through their work and extracurriculars.

About the LSU School of Architecture Master Program

College of Art & Design 2023 Honors Ceremony Recipients

The LSU College of Art & Design held the Class of 2023 Honors Ceremony on May 17, 2023, recognizing the academic achievements of graduating students. Honorees:

University Medal Recipients

Clara Clark
Joshua Crawford
Donna Le

Dean’s Medal Recipients

School of Architecture

Clara Jimenez, BArch
Courtney Klee, MArch

School of Art

Sophia Perkins, BFA
Rachel York, MFA

School of Interior Design

Marguerite Eppling, BID

Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture

Taylor Lasorsa, BLA
Morgana Tetherow-Keller, MLA

Doctor of Design

Nasrin Iravani, DDes

Tau Sigma Delta Members and Latin Honors

School of Architecture

Alexis Albert, Magna Cum Laude
Natalie Angelette, Magna Cum Laude
Victoria Cheung, Cum Laude
Alixandria Cinquigranno, Magna Cum Laude
Clara Jimenez, Summa Cum Laude
Patrick Kindred
Berry Lee, Magna Cum Laude
Mandisa Otumile, Magna Cum Laude
Kyle Schmitt, Summa Cum Laude
Caleb Thibodeaux, Cum Laude

School of Art

Nyako Arana, Magna Cum Laude
Cecilia Blanchard, Cum Laude
Nicholas Budde, Summa Cum Laude
Bailey Butts, Cum Laude
Katie Chemin, Summa Cum Laude
Vicky Chen, Summa Cum Laude
Olivia Christopher, Summa Cum Laude
Clara Clark, Summa Cum Laude
Caleb Coleman, Cum Laude
Caitlin Davis, Magna Cum Laude
Amanda Farris, Cum Laude
Jackson Ferber, Magna Cum Laude
Krystal Figueroa, Summa Cum Laude
Melissa George, Summa Cum Laude
Reagan Henderson, Summa Cum Laude
Emily Kukura, Cum Laude
Emma Little, Magna Cum Laude
Alyssa Loseke, Cum Laude
Sophia Morstead, Summa Cum Laude
Brianna Olivier, Summa Cum Laude
Annabelle Pavy, Summa Cum Laude
Sophia Perkins, Magna Cum Laude
Jesus Sanchez-Vera, Summa Cum Laude
Emily Tran, Magna Cum Laude
Isabel Webre, Cum Laude
Nikolas Wismar, Magna Cum Laude
Anna Wright, Summa Cum Laude
Ilai Wright, Summa Cum Laude

School of Interior Design

Marguerite Eppling, Magna Cum Laude
Donna Le, Summa Cum Laude
Hannah Lockhart, Summa Cum Laude
Victoria Porretto, Cum Laude
Grace Roberto, Cum Laude
Jennifer Stauss, Cum Laude
Lauren Thompson, Magna Cum Laude
Kayla Weidel, Cum Laude

Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture

Joshua Crawford, Summa Cum Laude
Taylor Lasorsa, Summa Cum Laude
Peyton Mahoney, Cum Laude
Claire Samaha, Magna Cum Laude

Allison Young a Cybersecurity Arts Contest Juror

Allison Young

Allison Young, assistant professor of art history

Allison Young, assistant professor of contemporary art history, was a juror on UC Berkeley’s 2023 Cybersecurity Arts Contest, which highlights the issue of cybersecurity through art. Read more.

The primary goal of the Cybersecurity Arts Contest is to expand representations of cybersecurity, broadly defined, through artistic expression and public dialogue, according to Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. Following a review by the independent and interdisciplinary panel of judges, three projects were selected based on their artistic merit, relevance, and potential impact. Young’s fellow judges were Mayola Charles (Lead, Social Impact Creator Partnerships, Meta) and Martin Rauchbauer (Executive Director, Djerassi Resident Artists Program & Founder, Tech Diplomacy Network).

“I have served as a juror for arts competitions before, but I was interested in this opportunity because of its timely and very contemporary theme,” Young said. She is an art historian at the LSU School of Art, and is an affiliate faculty member in the LSU department of African and African American Studies.

“The issue of cybersecurity isn’t necessarily an ‘art world’ buzzword yet, but it is nonetheless one that is extremely relevant to all of our lives today, in ways that can sometimes be difficult to wrap our minds around,” Young said. “As such, contemporary art can provide more personal or empathetic entry points into seemingly abstract concepts like surveillance, security, digital vulnerability, and online identities, in ways that can spark the viewer’s curiosity and imagination.”

“I was intrigued by the questions put forth by the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, which include prompts such as: ‘Whom does security affect?’ and ‘What are new ways of representing the human impacts of security’s failures?’ These allow us to imagine the subject of cybersecurity on a human scale.”

“Another thing that really excited me about this opportunity was the chance to collaborate with individuals outside of the art and creative industries,” she said. “The other members of the jury had expertise in fields such as social media and technological diplomacy, and I learned so much from them during this process. It also reaffirmed my belief that art can have a powerful impact even across the spheres typically associated with STEM, communications, or the social sciences.”

“Art can have a powerful impact even across the spheres typically associated with STEM, communications, or the social sciences.”

The submissions were extremely wide-ranging, and addressed cybersecurity both from the macroscopic level of global politics, and from the intimate scale of our individual lives and experiences. The three winning artists utilized a range of techniques – from game design to a digital spin on portraiture. For instance, the art collective Seeyam created an animated simulation in which the narrative touched on matters such as social media activism and online censorship, while Kyle McDonald’s interactive game considered the future risks of facial analysis and machine learning technologies, if they continue to encroach on our everyday lives. 

Cybersecurity is a priority of LSU’s Scholarship First research agenda. Read more.

LSU School of Art

Joshua Crawford Named to 2023 Tiger Twelve

Congratulations to Tiger Twelve senior Joshua Crawford! Joshua is graduating from the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture this May!

Joshua Crawford. Photo by LSU Campus Life.

“LSU has provided me with a plethora of knowledge and opportunities to succeed both in and outside of the classroom,” Crawford says.
“My professors, work supervisors, colleagues, and LSU’s support staff have encouraged me to strive for success, participate in meaningful conversations, and create designs that have a real-world impact.”
Future Plans: “I will be moving to Aspen, Colorado in August to work as a designer for Design Workshop, an international landscape architecture, urban design, and planning company. After gaining several years of experience, I plan on attending graduate school for urban planning and design to broaden my knowledge and scope as a designer with the possibility of returning to academia to teach.”
Since 2003, LSU has presented the Tiger Twelve honor to 12 students graduating each calendar year. Students selected as members of the Tiger Twelve are undergraduate seniors who contribute positively to the life of the campus, surrounding community, and society and who demonstrate commitment to intellectual achievement, inclusive excellence, leadership in campus life, and service. All must carry at least a 2.5 cumulative grade-point average. This year’s class GPA average is 3.97.
Pictured (left) are Assistant Professor Kevin Benham in the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, and Joshua Crawford, one of the Tiger Twelve cohort class of 2023.
Photos by LSU Campus Life.

2023 LSU Distinguished Communicators

A&D 2023 Distinguished Communicator Medalist Students and faculty mentors

A&D 2023 Distinguished Communicator Medalist Students and faculty mentors. Photo by Kevin G DiBenedetto.

During May 2023 Commencement, 84 graduates across eight colleges will receive the LSU Distinguished Communicator Medal. 23 are College of Art & Design graduates. This will be the largest class of Distinguished Communicator graduates to date. 

Recipients of this honor are outstanding writers and speakers, with a strong command of visual literacy and technological communication. They have earned high GPAs in their communication-intensive courses throughout their baccalaureate years, sought 1-1 mentorships with faculty and have built websites that display their communication competencies and professional talents, both in and beyond the classroom. LSU Distinguished Communicators also graduate with the LSU Communicator Certificate, launched in Fall 2018.

This distinction is the first of its kind in the nation and is sponsored by LSU Communication across the Curriculum (CxC), a nationally-recognized program for its excellence in enhancing learning experiences and improving students’ communication skills across all disciplines. As of May 2023 Commencement, LSU has awarded 908 graduates with the Distinguished Communicator Medal.

College of Art & Design

Kaitlyn Borel, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kris Palagi

Vicky Chen, Studio Art (Graphic Design)
Faculty Advisor: Luisa Restrepo Perez

Victoria Cheung, Architecture*
Faculty Advisor: Fabio Capra-Ribeiro

Alixandria Cinquigranno, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Tara Street

Joshua (Josh) Crawford, Landscape Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Haley Blakeman

Caitlin Davis, Studio Art (Graphic Design)
Faculty Advisor: Luisa Restrepo Perez

Marie French, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Sergio Padilla

Jackson Hartley, Landscape Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Haley Blakeman

Clara Jimenez, Architecture*
Faculty Advisor: Sergio Padilla

Alexis Lafleur, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Irene Brisson

Stephen Lemoine, Landscape Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Haley Blakeman

Emma Little, Studio Art (Graphic Design)*
Faculty Advisor: Courtney Barr

Zed Lobos, Studio Art (Digital Art)
Faculty Advisor: Allison Young

Grayson Loudon, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Jaycie Macdonald, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Ivy McClure, Architecture*
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Kensy Menocal, Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kristen Mauch

Adam Miller, Landscape Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Benham

Shellie Milliron, Studio Art (Graphic Design)
Faculty Advisor: Lynne Baggett

Victoria Porretto, Interior Design
Faculty Advisor: Tracy Burns

Collin Roan, Landscape Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kathleen Bogaski

Claire Samaha, Landscape Architecture
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Benham

Ilai Wright, Studio Art (Graphic Design)*
Faculty Advisor: Courtney Barr

*Honors students are designated with an asterisk.