School of art

School Notes: School of Art
September/October 2023

Kymberly Pinder |

School welcomes first DEI director

Dannika Kemp Avent has joined Yale School of Art as the inaugural director of sustainable equity and inclusion, a new role developed as part of the school’s five-year DEIB Unit Plan. As of June 1, Avent began leading long-term systemic-change work, overseeing the continued development and implementation of the school’s mission to uphold values of diversity, equity, belonging, respect, and anti-racism. Avent will integrate new and existing initiatives and procedures into a cohesive platform that supports the school’s diverse community, improving the quality of student life and academic engagement, reconceptualizing the curriculum to include non-Western forms of artmaking and knowledge production, and building a sustainable culture of equity and anti-racism among students, faculty, and staff. Avent brings many years of experience both in the DEI field as well as at Yale, having worked across other units and schools for the past 12 years.

Faculty news and awards

In May, the 2023 Calder Prize was awarded to Aki Sasamoto, assistant professor and director of graduate studies in sculpture. Given every two years to “a contemporary artist whose innovative work reflects the continued legacy of Calder’s genius,” the award is accompanied by the placement of an artwork in a major public collection.

Also in May, Lisa Kereszi ’00MFA, senior critic and newly appointed assistant director of graduate studies in photography, launched her fifth photobook, Mourning, with Minor Matters Books, using a collaborative copublishingmodel that utilizes presales to achieve production. The book centers around managing grief from two significant personal losses that were made more difficult amid family strife.

Maria De Los Angeles ’15MFA, critic and assistant director in painting/printmaking, has been selected as a 2023 Latinx Visiting Artist and Educator as part of the Latinx Visiting Artists Program at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. In October, De Los Angeles will work in Anderson Ranch studios and engage with their community by giving a public lecture, leading an educator workshop, conducting lessons in local schools, and developing Latinx art curriculum featuring lesson plans and units developed around her life, work, and artistic journey.

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