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Announcement
February 5, 2021

Endowed Chair appointments: Pamela Harris Lawton and Ellen Lupton

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Left: Pamela Harris Lawton. Right: Ellen Lupton. Courtesy Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is pleased to announce two new appointments to Endowed Chair faculty positions.

Beginning in Academic Year 2020–21, Pamela Harris Lawton was named the Florence Gaskins Harper Chair in Art Education and Ellen Lupton became the inaugural William O. Steinmetz ’50 and Betty Cooke ’46 Chair in Design.

MICA's first endowed chair was in Art Education, funded by a gift from Florence Gaskins Harper in 2004. Florence Gaskins Harper's objective in creating this endowed faculty chair upon her death was to promote the teaching of art in a way that provides substantial benefits to MICA and opportunities to the College's students that otherwise may be difficult or impossible to achieve in the absence of such a faculty chair. The Endowed Chair serves as the thought leader for the Hurwitz Center for Art Education.

Pamela Lawton was born into a family of artists, writers, dancers, singers, actors, and musicians. As a fifth-generation educator from Washington, DC, she spent much of her formative years engaged in the arts with her grandmother, great uncles and aunts, cousins, parents, and siblings as a form of learning about the world and how to survive and thrive as a woman of color. These intergenerational arts-based lessons stayed with her.

Her scholarly and artistic research revolves around visual narrative and intergenerational arts learning in community settings with specific emphasis on BIPOC communities. As an artist-educator-researcher, Lawton’s artwork is grounded in social practice, seeking to illuminate contemporary issues, cultural traditions, and the stories of people impacted by them. She earned a BA degree in Studio Art and Sociology from the University of Virginia, an MFA in Printmaking from Howard University and attended Teachers College, Columbia University where she obtained her EdDCTA (Doctor of Education in the College Teaching of Art). In 2021 Pam received the The Pearl Greenberg Award for Teaching and Research in Lifelong Learning from the National Art Education Association.

The William O. Steinmetz ’50 and Betty Cooke ’46 Chair in Design extends Betty and Bill’s remarkable creative and philanthropic legacy by celebrating design; commemorating an artful life of design; and raising MICA’s global reputation as a leading art and design college, with proud roots in Baltimore. Betty Cooke is a 1946 graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art. Her jewelry—pure, precise, and sculptural—has a unique place in the history of modern design. William O. Steinmetz, Class of 1950, was a gifted artist, designer, and entrepreneur as well as a MICA faculty member and trustee.

Ellen Lupton has published numerous books about design practice, many of them in collaboration with MICA students and faculty. She also serves as Senior Curator of Contemporary Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, a position she has held since 1992. Ellen is a sought-after speaker, presenting her research to students, scholars, and practitioners at universities and conferences worldwide.

Lupton holds a BFA from The Cooper Union and a Doctorate in Communication Design from the University of Baltimore. Lupton received the AIGA Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2007, the highest honor given to a graphic designer or design educator in the US. In 2019, she became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In their roles as Endowed Chairs, Lawton and Lupton will serve as distinguished teachers, researchers and public artists and scholars, working with students and faculty to advance MICA’s mission to “make the world we imagine.”

Thank you!

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