Valarie Williams Named New Leader of Arts Initative
Valarie Williams, associate curricular dean and director of the Urban Arts Space in the College of Arts and Sciences, has also been named executive director of the Arts Initiative at Ohio State. Williams takes over the helm from Lesley Ferris, who served as interim executive director of the Arts Initiative since the retirement of Karen Bell last year. Ferris will continue as the director of Ohio State's Royal Shakespeare Company programs.
"This is an amazing opportunity to work with multiple constituencies in the arts at Ohio State and in the community," said Williams. "I anticipate my work with the Arts Initiative will forge new partnerships and nurture existing ones, on campus and far beyond. Our goal is to continue to highlight the exceptional talent and creative activity of faculty and students, and to bring broad recognition to the arts at Ohio State."
In this role, Williams will work with all of the university's arts units to develop external partnerships, build on past successes, and further integrate the work of Arts and Humanities into the community. She will be providing oversight to the Urban Arts Space and the newly established Swing Space Gallery in the Gateway district, as well as joining the administrative team of the university's partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
"Valarie's considerable expertise and limitless energy are truly appreciated in the College, and we look forward to Val's expanded role," said Mark Shanda, divisional dean of Arts and Humanities. "She will work collaboratively with all of the arts at Ohio State to help develop new relationships and expand current partnerships."
Williams, also a professor of dance, earned her BFA from the Juilliard School, and her MFA and PhD from Texas Woman's University, and is a certified professional notator and teacher of dance. She was awarded the first Multidisciplinary Arts and Humanities Award with ACCAD and Near Eastern Languages, and was selected as a fellow in the OSU-CIC Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Program. She also was selected as a Rising Star Fellow at the International Council of Fine Arts Deans.
The Arts Initiative is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the academic heart of Ohio State. With more than 80 departments, schools, centers and institutes, the college delivers 60 percent of the academic curriculum to Ohio State students. Its vast academic diversity is its greatest strength, combining the best of a major research institution with a rich liberal arts foundation. Arts and Sciences faculty create new knowledge to solve global problems, fuel Ohio's economy, spark student inquiry, and engage with the local community.