Steven Lam Named dean of its School of Art at California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts has named Steven Lam the next dean of its School of Art. An accomplished administrator, professor, and curator, Lam will assume the role on July 15, 2022.

“I am thrilled to have Steven join us at CalArts. Steven’s breadth of experience in higher education and the arts and his collaborative leadership style are among the key qualities that he brings to this important role at the Institute,” said CalArts Provost Tracie Costantino. “His commitment to students’ development as artists and engaged contributors to our world is perfectly aligned with our mission. I look forward to partnering with Steven as he works with the faculty, staff, and students of the School of Art to envision and realize their aspirations.”

Lam comes to CalArts from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he has served as associate vice president of research and dean of the Jake Kerr Faculty of Graduate Studies. Earlier, he was director and an associate professor at the School of Art + Design at Purchase College, State University of New York, and associate dean of the School of Art at Cooper Union in New York.

“CalArts is one of those rare institutions that continues to hold that complicated space between rigor and generosity. The School of Art’s influence on contemporary cultural production is singular, yet it is also a place where practitioners, designers, and artists realize that their work is bigger than themselves,” said Lam. “I look forward to supporting an institution that has long stood for intellectual, critical pedagogical exploration, while affirming that the role of design and art is expansive, open, and, at times, controversial and complex.”

Initially trained as an artist, Lam received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and was a Helena Rubinstein fellow in curatorial studies at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He undertook graduate studies at the University of Houston and earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he had a double major in art history and studio art.