The Second-Ever Fulltime Head of Prestigious M.F.A. Program Takes Reins Aug. 1
Posted 05.13.10 by MICA communications
BALTIMORE--MICA announces the selection of abstract painter and longtime educator Joan Waltemath as the second permanent director of the famed Hoffberger School of Painting. Led for more than 40 years by Grace Hartigan until her death in 2008, the M.F.A. program is noted for producing generations of painters who have had an impact in the art world.
"I am honored to step into my new role as director of the Hoffberger School of Painting at MICA," Waltemath said. "It is a challenge not only to uphold the important place the College has held in American culture for nearly two centuries now but also a unique opportunity to focus on painting at a time of multiformity in the arts and to help shape its future."
Waltemath, who has been an educator since the early 1990s, has taught for more than a decade at the I.S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union in New York and in the visual arts department at Princeton University in New Jersey. She has also served as the editor-at-large of The Brooklyn Rail, a critical publication of arts, politics and culture, for nearly 10 years.
As an artist, Waltemath has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally, including solo shows in New York; Basel, Switzerland; London; Brussels; and Bonn, Germany. Her work is in many noted public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Muse de Beaux Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Waltemath has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and has been invited to residencies, including Insel Hombroich (Germany) and The Edward F. Albee Foundation.
"As a painter of uncompromising excellence, a critic recognized for her penetrating intelligence, and an educator able to both inspire and challenge, Joan Waltemath is an incredibly fitting heir to Grace Hartigan's extraordinary legacy," said Ray Allen, MICA's vice president for academic affairs and provost.
Waltemath studied at the University of Nebraska from 1971-73 and received a B.F.A at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1976. When she realized she wanted to teach, she went back to school, receiving her M.F.A. from Hunter College at the City University of New York in 1993.
Since its founding in 1965, the Hoffberger School of Painting has had a clear and singular focus-engaging a select group of highly talented painters in an intensive process of discovery to enable them to give expressive form to their individual voices. When Hartigan, a renowned abstract expressionist painter, founded Hoffberger, she maintained the program could have no more than 14 or 15 students, a tradition that has held strong over the years, making it one of the most selective graduate painting programs in the country. The program's prestige continues; U.S. News & World Report's new America's Best Graduate Schools edition ranks MICA as No. 4 in painting/drawing in the specialty rankings.
"I know Joan is eagerly looking forward to continuing Hoffberger School of Painting's well-deserved reputation for providing the most promising of painters with the knowledge and experience necessary to realizing their professional potential," Allen said.
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 B.F.A., M.F.A., M.A., M.A./M.B.A., M.A.T., M.P.S. and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.