VCU names arts school dean
Carmenita D. Higginbotham to join Sept. 15
Virginia Commonwealth University announced Monday that Carmenita D. Higginbotham will become dean of the School of Arts, starting Sept. 15. Nancy Scott, who served as interim dean , will remain until Higginbotham arrives.
Higginbotham currently serves as chair of the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia. At U.Va., she has also served as an assistant and associate professor in the McIntire Department of Art. She joined the faculty in 2005 with U.Va.’s Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.
Considered one of the country’s leading Disney experts, she has been a scholar and consultant for documentaries, including the 2015 “American Experience” documentary about Walt Disney and CNN’s “The Movies” last year. She authored “The Urban Scene: Race, Reginald Marsh, and American Art,” which addresses ways race is addressed in American art.
She recently was quoted in The Washington Post, discussing The Walt Disney Co.’s choice to develop content with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling during the National Anthem sparked protests and civil rights activism.
“What Disney has to do is figure out how to make itself matter, how to get in front of audiences in very different ways than it has in the past,” she told the Post. “Because the previous rules — of gathering a lot of people in one place, of just riding safely down the middle of American society — won’t apply for the next 12 months. And maybe a lot longer.”
“Dr. Higginbotham is the right leader at the right time as we navigate this pivotal point in VCU’s history,” Gail Hackett, VCU provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said in a statement.
Higginbotham is also a peer referee for The Art Bulletin, Art Journal and the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies and has worked with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the College Art Association and digital journal The Space Between: Literature and Culture, 1914-45.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and art history from the University of Minnesota, her master’s degree in art history from the University of Massachusetts and her doctorate in history of art from the University of Michigan.