Welcome Letter From Head of School Charlie White

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I write this letter — on the heels of our recently released newsletter — to tell you about all that is now happening and soon to happen in the School of Art.

I have been on the ground in Pittsburgh for nearly two months, and during this time I have had the honor of engaging with a fantastic staff, an exceptional faculty, and some of the brightest and most committed art students I’ve ever experienced. It is wonderful to be at a university as excellent as Carnegie Mellon, and to lead a school as full of promise as the School of Art.

In writing to you today, I am reaching out to generations of alumni and across thousands of miles of friends and institutions that have recognized the School of Art as a hub of artistic experimentation, social engagement, and alternative creative practice. While spanning the aesthetic landscape—from the forefronts of technology to the most radical of politics—the School has fostered the likes of Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, Joyce Kozloff, Mel Bochner, Deborah Kass, and John Currin, and it currently houses eminent faculty such as Golan Levin and Lowry Burgess; emerging new thinkers such as Angela Washko and Paolo Pedercini; and internationally recognized artists such as Kim Beck and Jon Rubin. In the course of its history, the School of Art has helped shape cultural thinking while forging new territories for social engagement, burgeoning technologies, and aesthetics. It is an exceptional opportunity for me to become a part of this history, and a great honor to take its helm.

As I reach out to say hello, I also want to invite you in. If you are an alum, please get in touch here to update us with your professional activity; if you are a friend of the school, please keep an eye out for the relaunch of our website in January and the fantastic series of lectures, events, and projects we’ll be hosting throughout the year. Our newsletter is a new start in many ways; as the school moves forward to fully realize its tremendous potential, we will be revitalizing our outward presence while carefully rethinking our interior pedagogy. As head of the school, I will be deeply committed to our graduate community; steadfastly focused on building unparalleled funding for all of our students; working to expand our platform of critical studies to be inclusive of artists and scholars alike; and determined to provide the most progressive and engaging undergraduate programs that span art, science, and technology in a manner that could only occur at Carnegie Mellon University.

I hope that you are pleased to receive this newsletter, and I encourage you to share it, post it, and consider it as you think about the critical importance of art school and non-normative thinking in our culture today. Those who know me know that I am a deep believer in art school’s potential; an advocate of students and exceptional learning environments; and an artist who stands behind the importance of freedom of expression. I look forward to hearing from you, and I want to thank the School of Art faculty, the College, and the University for inviting me to take on the role of head. It is both an honor and a great responsibility, and through it I hope to benefit all who are affiliated with the School and everyone who will become involved in its future.

Charlie White

Photograph: Jacquelyn Johnson BFA ‘20