End of Year Letter from Head of School Charlie White

Posted on May 16, 2023

Dear School of Art Community,

On Saturday, I had the honor of presiding over the School of Art Diploma Ceremony for the class of 2023, an inspiring group of artists, creative thinkers, and cultural leaders! Their path certainly has not been easy, but with tenacity and determination, they persevered, and I am truly proud of their achievements. It was an incredible honor to meet all of the families, friends, and loved ones of our students, and I want to thank everyone for making the day so special! As we close this academic year, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on just a sample of the incredible accomplishments of our community.

Among our undergraduates, Ajunie Virk was selected for a residency at Skowhegan, an exceedingly rare honor for a graduating undergraduate student. Ester Petukhova has already snagged her first solo gallery exhibition, which will open at Here Gallery this summer. We also got a behind-the-scenes look at what students, Caro Kroger, Ye Lim Kim, Magda Gourinchas, and Ameer Jones, along with Ester and Ajunie, made for the senior exhibition in our two-minute studio visit videos. Among our graduate students, Steve Alexis currently has a solo show at 707 Gallery, Inbar Hagai presented work in the New Media Caucus Showcase, and Rebecca Shapass presented her work and gave a public lecture in Richmond, Virginia.

Our faculty have been very busy this year, both inside and outside the classroom. We’re elated that Imin Yeh was awarded the Henry Hornbostel Teaching Award, CFA’s award for teaching excellence. Angela Washko also received a United States Artists Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards given to contemporary artists in the US. If you’re in Pittsburgh, be sure not to miss Lyndon Barrois Jr.’s solo exhibition “Rosette” at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Katherine Hubbard also currently has a solo exhibition, titled “The great room” on view at Company Gallery in New York City. In addition, Capricious Publishing will release a monograph of her work this summer.

We’re sad to say goodbye to Professor Bob Bingham, who has been a cornerstone of the School of Art for more than 30 years, as he retires at the end of this year. We will miss his warmth, generosity, and excitement for experimentation! This fall, we look forward to welcoming two new tenure-track assistant professors in painting: Ranee Henderson and Sharmistha Ray! We’re also excited to have Yoko Sekino-Bové move into a new role in the School as Assistant Teaching Professor in ceramics. Finally, we were thrilled to welcome our new Sculpture Technician, Michael Meulhaupt, this winter.

We also had the opportunity to catch up with some of our alumni this year. We took a deep-dive into the work of Dr. D. Fox Harrell (BFA & BS ’98), a researcher, theorist and artist whose computational work seeks to foster positive impact on critical social issues. In addition, we chatted with Jules Mallis (BHA ’12), an intermedia artist and community leader, as well as illustrator, printmaker, and storyteller Elizabeth Agyemang (BFA ’17).

We’ve also had exciting news on campus this year! This summer, CMU’s storied student-run gallery, The Frame, will undergo a major renovation to make the space accessible to all audiences and to provide critical upgrades. This spring, we were honored to host the Pittsburgh Regional Scholastic Awards, which brought together 400 pieces of the best high school student artwork from our area. Finally, we also announced the Ken Meyer Professional Studio Development Award, funded by William Kofmehl III (BFA ’02), which gives a young artist the opportunity to stay in Pittsburgh to pursue their practice.

I am so proud of all the accomplishments of our community, including the many that I could not mention in this letter. My congratulations once again to the class of 2023! I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing summer.


Charlie White
Regina and Marlin Miller Head of School
School of Art
Professor of Art
Carnegie Mellon University