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DAAP Welcomes New School of Art Director

After an arts career on the West Coast and in the Southwest, Kate Bonansinga returns to her hometown of Cincinnati as new director of UC’s School of Art.

Date: 9/10/2012
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Peter Svarzbein and Michael Everett
Cincinnati native Kate Bonansinga, who grew up in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Hyde Park and graduated from Walnut Hills High School, has returned to her hometown to serve as Director of the School of Art, part of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).
Kate Bonansinga
Kate Bonansinga


 
Bonansinga is stepping into the role of SOA director after most recently serving as the founding director of the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts at the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP). At UTEP, Bonansinga helped shepherd the Rubin Center into existence in 2004 and then guided its growth and development for nearly ten years. Accounts in the “El Paso Times” credit her with shaping the center into “a must-see destination for art professionals, and…an important resource for art scholars worldwide.”
 
Prior to her role as the center’s first and only director to date, she was UTEP’s director of University Galleries after having directed the gallery at Oregon College of Art and Craft. Along the way, she has earned a master’s in business administration (MBA) at New Mexico State University, a master’s in art history at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and a bachelor’s in economics at the University of Michigan.
 
In stepping into her new leadership role at DAAP, Bonansinga will seek to add to the college’s already prominent national and international reputation. She stated, “The best part for me is to be surrounded by creative personalities in an environment with so much opportunity. There is so much talent here able to expand connections to the regional community and larger arts community while also drawing those communities into the life of the university.”
 
She added that these connections and their collective impact – as well as SOA’s art history, art education and studio art programs – are augmented by the diversity of disciplines within the school and college. “Diversity in all its forms empowers the fine arts and vice versa,” she said.
 
Bonansinga also plans to teach at least one course a year, likely curatorial practices within the museum studies certificate program, and to continue her national curatorial role: “By teaching, I’ll better understand and connect with the concerns of both our faculty and students. And by continuing to serve as a curator for nationally prominent exhibits, I’ll join with others in the school in continuing the conversation between DAAP programs and creative colleagues at work around the nation and world.”
 
As a curator, Bonansinga has consistently worked with contemporary artists. Among the exhibits she has curated is “Staged Stories: Renwick Craft Invitational 2009” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, which presented work by ceramic artists Cristyl Boger and SunKoo Yuh, fiber artist Mark Newport, and glass artist Mary Van Cline.
Kate Bonansinga
Kate Bonansinga in front of DAAP's Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed, Jr. Gallery.


 
In a one-time review in the “El Paso Times,” artist and writer Becky Hendrick, who also teaches at UTEP, said of Bonansinga’s curatorial role: "She brings a much-needed energy and a high level of critical thinking to her curatorial duties, and we're the beneficiaries.”
 
In that same vein, Bonansinga’s chief goal as SOA director will be to benefit others: “My goal is to express creativity in this leadership position and to empower others to do the same. By doing so, our future together only becomes stronger in giving and receiving support by means of the arts.”