Valencia, CA, September 7, 2007 -- The CalArts Board of Trustees has confirmed costume designer Ellen McCartney and artist Sam Durant as the first holders of two newly created faculty chairs: McCartney has been named to the Robert Corrigan Chair in Theater while Durant has been appointed to the Robert Fitzpatrick Chair in Art.
The new chairs honor the enduring contributions made by CalArts’ first two presidents: the late Robert W. Corrigan, who served from 1968 to 1972, and Robert J. Fitzpatrick, who served from 1975 to 1987. Dr. Corrigan, a renowned scholar of drama and a brilliant educator, led the way in shaping the then-radical educational model that has since become the hallmark of CalArts. Dr. Fitzpatrick, a much-admired and influential figure across the arts, education, business and entertainment communities, built on his predecessor’s legacy to establish CalArts as an international leader in the arts.
Both chairs are three-year posts awarded to outstanding faculty members whose achievements in both teaching and professional artmaking set the highest standards within their respective schools and CalArts as a whole, said Provost Nancy J. Uscher. “Ellen and Sam are exceptional path-breaking artists who have embodied the spirit of CalArts by creating highly original bodies of work,” she noted. “The new chairs provide the institute with a wonderful opportunity to recognize Ellen and Sam—and how much they’ve enriched our community over the years.”
Funding attached to each chair allows the holder to develop a wide range of curricular initiatives, added Uscher.
McCartney, who first joined the faculty of CalArts in 1997, has been the head of the School of Theater’s Costume Design Program since 2002. Her recent credits include the Center for New Performance stagings of Macbeth, at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), and King Lear, at the Brewery Arts Complex. McCartney’s design work has been featured elsewhere in Los Angeles in productions from Theatre Movement Bazaar and 24th Street Theatre. Previously, she had worked in New York with world-renowned companies such as The Wooster Group and The Builders Association.
A faculty member since 1995, Durant (MFA 91) uses a variety of media—including sculpture, drawing, photography, video and sound—to address the conflicting social, cultural and political ideals of the past several decades. He has presented exhibitions at museums and galleries across North America, Europe and Asia. Durant’s work has been the subject of mid-career retrospectives at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Kunstverein Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf. His next one-person exhibition opens in September at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York.
The Corrigan and Fitzpatrick chairs have been made possible by an anonymous donor whose gift will fund a total of three named chairs. The remaining chair wil be announced before the conclusion of the Campaign for CalArts at the end of 2008. To date, the Campaign, which entered its public phase last fall, has already raised more than $109 million toward its goal of $125 million.