Welcome Letter from Head of School Charlie White

Posted on August 30, 2023

Dear School of Art Community,

I want to welcome everyone back to campus, with an especially warm welcome to our new students!

We’ve spent the summer putting a fresh coat of paint on our walls, outfitting painting studios with new easels, installing new potter’s wheels in the ceramics studios, and updating drawings studios and media classrooms, all in anticipation of a new year of artmaking and experimentation. Our spaces are so critical to how we work and who we are, and I can’t wait to see our hallways and galleries fill with artwork once again!

In fact, our first-year students spent last week taking a crash course introduction to CMU and the School of Art, and they even had their first Foundations class before the official first day of school. This is an impressive cohort, with students coming from across 16 states and 6 countries as well as from our very own Pittsburgh region!

Likewise, our new MFA students have been getting situated in their studios, connecting with their cohort, and acclimating to the space and place of graduate school. The four incoming MFAs are a truly international group hailing from Canada, Iran, South Africa, and Pittsburgh! It’s awesome to help foster a community that represents many parts of our world, and many cultural and creative spheres, all coming together within the School of Art.

In addition to our new students, we’re excited to welcome three amazing new faculty this year! Ranee Henderson and Sharmistha Ray, both joining as tenure-track assistant professors of painting, bring fresh ideas, new perspectives, and relevant experiences to our school’s broadening academic community. We’re also very excited to have Yoko Sekino-Bové take on an expanded role in our ceramics studio as assistant teaching professor of art. Yoko’s scope of knowledge has garnered great respect from our students, and having her join us in this permanent capacity will certainly enrich the fabric of our school.

While preparing for our students’ arrival this fall, we held our largest and most successful pre-college program since the pandemic. A group of more than 50 high school juniors and seniors experienced a taste of what art school is like through technical and conceptual coursework and a wide variety of workshops. Students also met with faculty for portfolio reviews to help them get ready for the college application process.

We also hosted a one-week class taught by employees of Duolingo for Pittsburgh high school students. This class showed students paths for creative majors in college and gave them a glimpse into creative careers, a model of collaboration and outreach that the School of Art aims to both grow and learn from.

Finally, if you’ve been on the corner of Forbes Avenue and Margaret Morrison lately, you may have noticed that The Frame Gallery is receiving an updated look. Major renovations to the space, including the addition of a bathroom, a ramp, professional gallery wall and lighting, and the upgraded facade will all be finished soon. Stay tuned for an announcement of the first exhibition and re-opening celebration!

In closing, I’d like to once again extend a warm welcome to our new students and to those who are returning, as well as to our unparalleled faculty and to our incredible staff, who make so much of what we do possible. As we embark on an exciting year of growth, change, vision, and making, I’m looking forward to seeing what all of you create!


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

Photo: the first year class