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ASU Herberger Institute names new director for the School of Art

Noted scholar of artists and art cities Joanna Grabski is joining Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts as the new director of the School of Art.

Joanna Grabski

“Joanna is incredibly talented, energetic, entrepreneurial and collaborative,” said Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute. “She is a dedicated teacher. She is prepared to build relationships across the city and support new opportunities for our research, creative work and community engagement.”

Grabski’s work addresses public art, fashion and street life, visuality and creativity, art and urban memory, and interpretations of the built environment as well as urbanization and art world globalization. 

“I am excited about partnering with the School of Art’s talented and dedicated faculty to advance their leading edge creative work and to mainstream thinking about the arts as integral to public education and connective to diverse publics,” Grabski said.

Grabski, who most recently served as chair of art history and visual culture at Denison University, will begin her new role at ASU in July. She is a seasoned administrator who has been chosen to lead several multi-institutional academic initiatives across the Great Lakes Colleges and is the editor and author of dozens of articles and books. Her most recent book, “Art World City: The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar,” will be released this summer and focuses on contemporary art and artists in the city of Dakar, a famously thriving art metropolis in the West African nation of Senegal.

“Artistic production and arts-based inquiry have incredible implications for shaping the spaces we share and for living together humanely, creatively and sustainably,” Grabski said. “Both Phoenix and Tempe are impressively creative cities, and I am eager to use my expertise on cities as creative spaces to maximize relationships between the School of Art and creative communities.”

Grabski also says she shares the values of the New American University and views the School of Art as vital to advancing that mission.

“The School of Art is not only an enterprise for experimentation and innovation, but also a crucible for interdisciplinary and collaborative outcomes and for large-scale social change.”