CCAD love letters

Columbus College of Art & Design is feeling the love this Valentine’s Day. After putting out a call to our community for “love letter” submissions, we received stories of long-time romances, friendships, and, of course, an abiding love for art and learning, all with a CCAD connection. Here are some of the contributions:



John Schaffner (Industrial Design, 1960) & Luray Schirtzinger (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1962)

Love was in the air for John Schaffner (Industrial Design, 1960) and Luray Schirtzinger (Advertising & Graphic Design, 1962). Schirtzinger, who Schaffner calls his true love, was one of a group of artists who would lunch in the airbrush room each day. “Luray came to me one day and said to me, ‘I have tickets to see Victor Borge. Would you like to go with me?’ he recalls.

“That was the start of a beautiful relationship,” says Schaffner.

Some of their classmates became members of their wedding party, including Duane Casto, Ron Frank, Julia Stalter, and Linda Wolf. The two will celebrate “60 wonderful years” on July 6, 2022.

Shana Huseman (Illustration, 2015) & Josh Thompson (Illustration, 2013); Rachel Pierce (Illustration, 2015)

“I met Josh (Thompson) back in 2011—my freshman year, and literally the second day of class,” says Shana Huseman (Illustration, 2015). “It was 8 a.m. figure drawing class, and, as cheesy as it sounds, the moment he walked into class I was in love. We officially started dating, like, a month later and we've been together since!”

Husman also found a friend for life in CCAD’s residence halls. Rachel Pierce (Illustration, 2015), Pierce, Husman says, “was my first roommate—and somehow I was blessed to be paired with the person who would be my best friend in the entire world!”

Svetlana Albrecht (Illustration, 2009)

From the first day she stepped foot on campus in 2005, “CCAD opened an entire new world for me,” says Svetlana Albrecht (Illustration, 2009). “Not only did I meet the most wonderful people and professors that I'm still friends with 17 years later, but I also discovered so many different forms of art expression and mediums that I didn't know existed,” she continues. 

“Although my years at CCAD were tough and challenging, they also were some of the best years of my life,” she says. Those years taught her discipline and the ability to think outside the box—which, she says, she’s carried with her in her career.

“CCAD gave me the opportunity and freedom to find myself as an artist,” says Albrecht.

Amy Pennell (Illustration, 1985)

CCAD prepared me to do so many things,” says Amy Pennell (Illustration, 1985). Indeed, she ventured into architecture, working for Bohm-NBBJ as a rendering illustrator, and through that moved into retail design with RPA in Columbus. “After a few years there, I decided to form a partnership, The Drawing Room with fellow graduate Judith Steele (Interior Design, 2005).  We ran a successful business until I had to move away from Columbus,” says Pennell.

From there, she grew her career in northeast Ohio. “Kent State University asked me to teach in their college of Visual Communications because they knew that I had graduated from CCAD.  CCAD credentials are widely known,” she says. Pennell—who boasts that she’s never missed a design deadline in the 37 years that have passed since graduating from CCAD, now teaches as an adjunct at Kent State while also maintaining her own design company. “Between KSU and my company, I successfully work 50+ hours a week doing exactly what I enjoy doing,” she says.

Pennell continues, “I try to inspire and teach college students and create inspiration for a few selected companies. I love that because of my training with CCAD as a great foundation, I have been able to do so many different things that I can put my name on them. Those projects continue to generate me much success. I am truly thankful for CCAD.”

Kent Roberts (Illustration, 1977)

There aren’t many art forms Kent Roberts hasn’t explored. Teacher. Illustrator. Designer. Cartoonist. Sign painter. Caricaturist. Fine artist. And even a suspect sketch artist for the police.

“CCAD gave me a great art education,” Roberts says. These days, he often enters his paintings in art shows, taking home dozens of first-place wins, as well as Best of Show recognition seven times.

“I recommend this great school to all who aspire to be professional artists,” says Roberts.

John McCutcheon (Fine Arts, 1979)

Long after graduating from CCAD, John McCutcheon (Fine Arts, 1979) has maintained a deep and productive relationship with his alma mater, providing students and alumni opportunities to show work in his alternative exhibition space, Sean Christopher Gallery, located in Columbus’ Short North Arts District.

Over the years, McCutcheon has hosted work by many emerging and established artists with an Ohio connection, however, he says, “my proudest moments have come while practicing selfless service through my ongoing relationships with the CCAD family.

In addition to marking Sean Christopher Gallery’s 20th year, 2022 also is the 11th year for its Young Hearts exhibition, a juried show featuring work by CCAD’s BFA students and MFA candidates. Plus, in April, it will exhibit work by Alessandro Bellizzi (Fine Arts, 2013); in May it will be home to the 5th Annual Old School Invitational, featuring work by 1970s and 1980s-era CCAD alumni from across the country; and in July and August, Sean Christopher will be home to a solo painting and installation show by Julia Hamilton (Master of Fine Arts, 2019).

“In my 67 years, this has been a love like no other for me. Simply by giving a little, I have received tenfold. For this, I am grateful,” McCutcheon says.