March 30, 2017
Alison Gass, Dana Feitler Director of the Smart Museum, and Jessica Stockholder, Raymond W. & Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor, and Chair of the Department of Visual Arts (DoVA), are pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Steward as the Director of DoVA’s Open Practice Committee (OPC) and Curator of Public Art at the Smart Museum of Art. This new shared position will collaborate with colleagues across the University to advance public art and the visual arts more broadly throughout the University.
As Director of DoVA’s Open Practice Committee, Laura will work closely with faculty, students, and others interested in the visual arts, to develop DoVA’s dynamic visiting artist speaker series and other programing creating contexts for dialogue. She will create platforms to extend between DoVA, the rest of the University, and the broader local, national, and international art world. As Curator of Public Art, Laura will provide curatorial leadership for the University’s campus and public art program, which oversees the University’s collection of public sculpture and other art objects that are located in University buildings and is administered by the Smart Museum and UChicago Arts. In this role, Laura will work closely with the Public Art Committee, Anna Weiss-Pfau, the Campus & Public Art Collection and Conservation Manager, and other colleagues across the Smart Museum and the University of Chicago.
Laura Steward comes to Chicago from the Santa Fe Institute where she currently serves as the Director of Advancement and Art Programs. From 2012 to 2015, she ran Laura Steward Projects, representing visionary and folk artists. Laura served as Phillips Director and Chief Curator at SITE Santa Fe from 2005 to 2010 and was the founding curator at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. While at MASS MoCA, she was an adjunct faculty member at Williams College and Bennington College. Laura is a graduate of Harvard College and the Williams/Clark Program in the History of Art.
Building on her strong relationships with artists, Laura has developed exciting exhibitions, art commissions, and programs throughout her career. She will help strengthen the connections between DoVA and the Smart Museum, as the University develops new opportunities for artists to contribute to the dynamic work of DoVA, the Smart Museum, and UChicago Arts.