Welcome Letter from Head of School Charlie White

Posted on August 30, 2022

Dear School of Art Community,

It’s such a joy to welcome our returning students back to campus and our new students to campus for the first time! The energy and excitement of being back together—in dorms, classrooms, studios, workshops, and elsewhere on campus—is palpable, and I can’t wait for our hallways and galleries to be filled with artwork once again.

This year, we’re welcoming one of our most exciting first year classes ever, with students coming to CMU from across the country and around the world. For this first-year cohort, we’re rolling out a new Foundations curriculum, which aims to build a more tightly-knit community, provide a stronger basis in technical skills, and better support students’ acclimation to CMU. Over the summer, we’ve been busy renovating a 2,800-square-foot classroom, which, for the first time ever, will provide space exclusively for first-year students. I’d like to offer a special thank you to Professor Imin Yeh for her tireless work over the last year to institute these fantastic changes. Keep an eye out for next Tuesday’s newsletter for more information about the new Foundations curriculum!

We likewise have an incredible first-year cohort entering our MFA program, with students from Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, China, and the UK. I’m also thrilled to have Professor Katherine Hubbard taking the reins as the next MFA Program Director, and I look forward to seeing how she builds upon the many successes of the program under Professor Jon Rubin.

This fall also brings significant change to our Sculpture, Installation, and Site-Work area as we welcome two new professors, Britt Ransom and Ling-lin Ku. Both of these artist-teachers use traditional and digital fabrication techniques in innovative ways. Britt’s art practice challenges us to question our place within the natural world, while Ling-lin’s work examines how objects shape social relationships and our sense of identity. I’m excited to see how they engage students in fundamental questions about artmaking using objects and three-dimensional space.

We are privileged to have a survey of CMU alumna and video art pioneer Dara Birnbaum right here on campus this fall at the Miller ICA. Curated by Elizabeth Chodos, Miller ICA Director and School of Art Professor, the exhibition sheds an important light on Birnbaum’s interrogations of mass media at a time when media is undergoing a radical change within American society. The exhibition is now open and a newly-commissioned work will premiere on September 23.

Finally, we’re excited to have the Carnegie International return to Pittsburgh at our neighbor, the Carnegie Museum of Art, as well as at three off-site venues. The longest-running North American exhibition of international art, the Carnegie International gives our students the opportunity to engage with artists, artwork, and ideas both from our region and from around the world. We’re currently working with the museum on a series of public artist conversations, which will be announced soon.

In closing, and on behalf of all our faculty and staff, I’d like to offer a warm welcome to all our new and returning students! We are here to support your personal and artistic growth while you’re at CMU and beyond. I can’t wait to see what you make in the school’s studios and workshops!


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

Image: The class of 2026 in the new Foundations Studio.