Artist, educator Gerry Snyder named first executive director of UA School of Art

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 747 views 

The University of Arkansas School of Art, the first and only accredited collegiate school of art in the state, has hired its first executive director.

The UA announced Monday (May 20) the hiring of Gerry Snyder, effective July 1. Snyder is dean of the School of Art at the Pratt Institute, a university in New York City known for its highly ranked programs in architecture, art and design.

“We are excited to have Gerry join our team to lead the School of Art,” Todd Shields, dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the UA, said in a statement. “He is exceptionally qualified for this position, as an internationally recognized artist with experience building facilities and programs from the ground up at top art institutes. He has the vision to build our school and infuse art into multiple disciplines and curricula across campus and into the community.”

Snyder has worked at the Pratt Institute since July 2014. Before that, he held administrative and teaching positions at New York University (1987-1996), Pacific Northwest College of Art (1996-2000), College of Santa Fe (2000-2009), and Santa Fe University of Art and Design (2009-2014).

An accomplished and internationally recognized artist, Snyder’s artwork is part of the public collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the de Young Museum of San Francisco, New Mexico Museum of Art, Pancevo Center of Contemporary Art in Serbia and at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

Snyder will also hold the position of Distinguished Professor of art and serve as special advisor to Chancellor Joe Steinmetz for arts integration “through the entire campus and beyond,” Steinmetz said in a statement.

“I look forward to joining the University of Arkansas this summer and working with the talented team of faculty and Chancellor Steinmetz to build this new School of Art and infuse art into curricula that touches all areas of campus,” Snyder said. “This is truly a unique opportunity and I’m honored to be a part of it as we continue to weave the arts into the fabric of the Northwest Arkansas region, beginning with the growth of the school and the new Windgate Arts and Design District.”

The UA School of Art was established in fall 2017 with a $120 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation of Bentonville. The school also received $40 million from the Windgate Charitable Foundation later that year to create the Windgate Art and Design District to house new art and graphic design classrooms, labs, studios and a public gallery space in the heart of south Fayetteville.