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First artist-in-residence at TU teaches photography

David Allio has spent a long career looking through the lens of a camera and teaching others about the intricacies of photography. He’s been a photographer for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Nabisco Sports Marketing Enterprises, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. His work has appeared in USA Today, New York Times, New York Post, Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, just to name a few.

Now Allio is sharing his knowledge with Thomas University students as TU’s first artist-in-residence.

“I think the practical, professional experience Mr. Allio brings will give our students a clear insight into how visual arts are used in all modern media and how to capitalize on original, creative works in a commercial setting,” said Dr. Karl Barton, Chair of the Division of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies.

For Allio, teaching is a perfect match for his interests.

“This is exactly what I wanted to teach on a college level and fits what I’ve done as an adjunct at the University of Virginia,” Allio said. “I can take what I’ve done in workshops for professionals and bring it to the classroom.”

Allio first became interested in photography as a high school student in Wise, Virginia. His chemistry teacher, Jack Turner, showed Allio how to use a darkroom to develop film and make prints.

“He was a very special teacher who saw a spark of interest and worked with me,” Allio said.

Allio took that interest in photography and turned it into a career. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Communication and Visual Art from the University of Virginia, Clinch Valley College. After working as a professional photographer for many years, Allio realized that he wanted to teach photography at the college level. However, doing so would require a graduate degree, so Allio went back to school.

In January 2015, he graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Arts. During the course of his graduate studies, Allio worked in 11 different disciplines of art, including traditional and mixed media.

He brings this interest in other disciplines with him when teaching photography.

“I hope my students step away having learned several things, but most importantly, that they develop their own critical sense of their work,” Allio said. “Critical thinking is very important for students to take away from a university. That’s one of the greatest things I learned when I went to the University of Virginia.”

In addition to teaching the photography classes, Allio and Barton are also making plans for some collaborative workshops with the community.

“Having Mr. Allio as the artist-in-residence is the first of what will hopefully become a regular practice at Thomas University featuring a wide range of artists and scholars who will come to teach and share their expertise with students and the community,” Barton said.

Education that Engages... Empowers... TRANSFORMS

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