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Scholar, Author and Educator Dr. Kymberly Pinder to Become Dean at Yale School of Art

[Dr. Kymberly Pinder, seen with a black and white drawing by Jami Porter Lara. Photo by Eve Caughey via]

Starting July 1, Dr. Kymberly Pinder, renowned scholar of race, representation, and murals, will become Dean of the Yale School of Art.

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Pinder, who earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in art history at Yale, most recently was acting president of Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Prior to that, Pinder served as  dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico.

Pinder also taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1996 to 2012, during which time she edited the book Race-ing Art History: Critical Readings in Race and Art History (2002). She also taught courses that led to the creation of murals in Chicago and Albuquerque.

To quote from

“The Yale School of Art provides an unmatched platform for promoting excellence while effecting positive change,” said Dr. Pinder, who earned her Ph.D. in art history from Yale in 1995.

“I look forward to working with colleagues and students across the campus, the city, and the globe to extend the boundaries of arts practice and education. Objects and their making unlock and shape dialogues in some of the most transformative ways for both makers and viewers. It is an honor to return to Yale to help nurture its rich culture of rigorous inquiry. I am excited to bring my Yale education full circle.”

Pinder’s most recent book-length publication is 2016’s Painting the Gospel: Black Public Art and Religion in Chicago, where she explores how Black imagery in the public sphere empowered communities in that city. Pinder collaborated with local artists, from well-known muralists to anonymous graffiti writers and worked with different artists and local officials.

“Professor Pinder is widely known for her deep commitment to teaching, which is rooted in her belief that an education is key to social mobility and to finding solutions to local and national challenges,” Yale University President Peter Salovey said in a statement.

“As she encourages students to pursue excellence and nurtures their artistic aspirations, she also teaches them to examine carefully every facet of society. She has created new coursework that promotes critical thinking, forums for open discussion, and opportunities to produce and display works of art that bring insight to complex issues.”

Pinder will succeed Marta Kuzma, dean of the School of Art since 2016 and the first woman to lead the school. Kuzma will join the full-time faculty as a tenured professor of art.

“I am honored to entrust the office of the deanship to Dr. Pinder, who will be the first woman of color appointed dean within the School’s 150-year history,” said Kuzma.

“Dr. Pinder’s experience as an academic and theorist, critically acclaimed for her writings around art and religion, history, and race, as well as her demonstrated excellence as a leader and administrator within peer graduate and undergraduate visual art programs, is exactly what the Yale School of Art needs as MFA programs across the nation address the necessary shift in the climate of future art education.”

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