September 15, 2022
First African American Undergraduate Department Chair in College’s History
Award-winning photographer and educator Everard Williams has been named chair of the Photography and Imaging Department at ArtCenter College of Design, as announced today by Interim Provost Dr. Anne Burdick. Williams is the first African American to serve as an undergraduate department chair in the College’s history.
Williams has been a member of the ArtCenter community for many years—as a student, an alumnus (BFA 89), a professor, and as a faculty director, as well as previously serving as department interim chair. He’s taught numerous courses at the College, participated in significant panel discussions, and assumed management of the department in times of transition, including the shift to remote teaching and learning at the start of the pandemic. Williams was a founding member of the College’s inaugural Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and he continues to be a strong advocate for the student body, especially those from underserved communities and students of color.
He has also maintained a professional photography practice since 1991, specializing in high-end photography for national and international advertising, design and editorial clients, including some of the world’s top creative agencies, record labels, nonprofits, national magazines, and food and beverage companies. His work has been recognized with awards from AIGA, Communication Arts, Print Magazine and the Society of Publication Designers, among others.
In making the announcement, Dr. Burdick said, “Throughout his tenure at ArtCenter, Everard has been focused on student advocacy and outreach to teens throughout the greater Los Angeles area. It’s his innate understanding that education takes many forms—not only inside, but beyond the classroom; not only through studying history and modernism, but through personal lived experiences—that excites me. He will add a new dimension to how our academic leadership approaches the type of education we offer in the future.”
Williams said, “Photography's ubiquity and its ease-of-use help support the belief that the process of crafting images is easy and that anyone can do it. Critical to photography’s relevance, however, is the magic blend of technical deftness, artistic intent and engaging storytelling.”
“The responsibility of educating the next generation of photographic artists requires creating space for new classes to help students in their storytelling development,” Williams continued. “Whether or not the photographer's intent is artistic or commercial, the superpower of lens-based storytelling is the creation of dynamic, engaging and emotional stories.”
Williams is the first African American to serve as department chair across the College’s suite of undergraduate programs. He joins Stan Douglas, chair of Graduate Art, who stepped into his role in July 2021. This represents a concentrated effort by the College to expand faculty and educational leadership perspectives to better reflect and support an increasingly diverse student body.
As department chair, Williams will provide vision, leadership and be broadly responsible for ensuring educational excellence and the ongoing successful operations of the Photography and Imaging program. With nearly 70 students and 30 full- and part-time faculty members, enrollment in the program is carefully managed from term-to-term to maximize use of campus facilities and resources, which includes a 2,500 square-foot photo stage, digital imaging lab, black-and-white photo lab, color photo lab, and a full spectrum of professional camera equipment available for use in the Educational Media Equipment Center.
“While Everard is, of course, well known to many members in our community, his appointment to the department chair position follows an international search that delivered a pool of applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and locales,” Dr. Burdick said. “The search committee demonstrated the best of what an international search can do for ArtCenter by bringing a world-class group of candidates to the College for us to interact with and learn from. As a result, we can trust that in Everard, we have the best possible candidate for the job.”
On behalf of the search committee, Dana Walker-Juick, herself a Photography alumna and managing director of ArtCenter Extension, offered the following, “Everard Williams demonstrated passion, understanding, and a thorough knowledge of the role and expectations of the position. Not only is he an experienced professional photographer, Everard also exemplifies an understanding of what is necessary to succeed as a photographer as the industry continues to evolve. Everard will ensure that the core of what makes the Photo Department successful and unique remains central, while also propelling the department into the future.”
About ArtCenter: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and 10 graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round extension programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status in recognition of its commitment to social impact design through Designmatters. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.
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