Art Institute of Chicago, Judith Russi Kirshner, Deputy Director for Education and Woman's Board
Since 1998, Kirshner has served as the Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her leadership over the past 15 years transformed the College of Architecture and the Arts at UIC into a nationally and internationally recognized leader for education in architecture, design, and the arts. Her tenure at UIC has been marked by her strong commitment to the recruitment and retention of an outstanding and intellectually diverse faculty, staff, and student body; her advocacy and articulate representation of the work of the College; and her rigorous re-evaluation and restructuring of the College's academic programs and leadership structure to build the strongest degree programs possible. Her most significant initiative, which will become official in August 2013, is the reorganization of the College into four academic schools (Architecture, Design, Art & Art History, and Theatre & Music), reflected in its new name, the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts.
Kirshner first joined UIC in 1990 and served as director of the School of Art and Design from 1990 to 1997, where she engaged college faculty, staff, and students, as well as university-based leaders and external partners in major Chicago cultural institutions and community organizations, in wide-ranging endeavors. Part of the multi-college, multi-disciplinary effort to establish the UIC Innovation Center, Kirshner also brought the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum into the College to strengthen and reinforce the museological and public programming reach of this major historical and cultural destination. Under her leadership, the College of Architecture and the Arts received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Graham Foundation, Driehaus Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Polk Bros. Foundation, After School Matters, and the Chicago Community Trust. Kirshner also led the effort to bring a commissioned work by the artist James Turrell, the UIC Skyspace, to the South Campus and led the initiative to identify and make accessible the Campus Art Collection, which contains the work of many outstanding UIC faculty artists.
Kirshner is also a recognized scholar and critic. Recipient of the Warhol Foundation Award for Criticism, she has focused her scholarship and publications on contemporary art, in particular Italian artists and feminist movements. A contributor to Art in America and Artforum , Kirshner has also published and lectured on the work of artists Judy Ledgerwood, Gordon Matta-Clark, Roni Horn, Tom Otterness, Dan Peterman, and Karen Reimer. She is a member of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events advisory board, as well as an advisory board member of many national and Chicago-based cultural organizations. She previously served as curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, from 1976 to 1980 and at the Terra Museum of American Art from 1985 to 1987. From 1981 to 1987, she was an assistant professor in the art history department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Photo of Judith Kirshner by Charlie Dietz.