University of Arkansas

03/01/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/02/2024 12:25

School of Art Director Candidates to Present to Campus

Provided by candidates

Left to right: Jason Guynes, Adam Herring and Rachel Debuque

Three candidates for the position of director of the School of Art in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences - Jason Guynes, Adam Herring and Rachel Debuque - will hold open forums on March 4, 7 and 11, respectively.

Each open forum will be held in the lobby of the Studio and Design Center in the Windgate Art and Design District.

Each candidate will focus on strengths and opportunities they see for the School of Art's future during their forum. In addition, candidates will highlight past experiences that have prepared them for this position and provide insight on how they will advance the School of Art as a national and international hub for the study of art.

The campus and community are invited to attend the presentations. Parking available at the southeast corner of lot 56, located at the intersection of Razorback Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. A shuttle ride to the front doors of the Studio and Design Center will also be provided.


Jason Guynes (Presenting March 4, 1:30-2:45 p.m.)

Guynes will present at an open forum on March 4. Guynes is an artist and arts administrator with more than 27 years of executive leadership experience and is currently a professor of art and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama.

In his current role, he managed construction of a new graduate studio building and is overseeing the renovation of studio classrooms. While at the University of West Alabama, he founded and directed the UWA Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition Program. At the University of South Alabama, he oversaw construction of a glass-blowing facility and program, and the development of a B.F.A. in animation, an M.A. in art education and an M.F.A. in creative technologies. He served as president of SECAC, a national nonprofit organization devoted to education and research in the visual arts, from 2014-2017 and served in the governance of the organization for more than 10 years.

Guynes exhibits work internationally and nationally in a variety of venues and is featured in multiple publications. He has completed numerous mural commissions and significant projects in social practice. His latest project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, was exhibited in 2023 at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in association with the Smithsonian Institution.

He received his M.F.A. in painting from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and his B.A. in painting from Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi.

Adam Herring (Presenting March 7, 3:30-4:45 p.m.)

Herring will present at an open forum on March 7. Herring is the Emily Rich Summers professor of art history and department chair of art history in the Meadows School of Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he was hired out of graduate school in 1999.

In his nine years as department chair of art history, Herring worked with faculty colleagues to recruit and retain diversity on both senior and junior levels of the program's tenure/tenure track faculty, building one of the country's most distinguished academic programs in the art of the United States, Latin America/Brazil and the African Diaspora, while tripling department undergraduate enrollment.

A Guggenheim Fellow, Herring has published on ancient Maya writing and calligraphy, and on the art and architecture of South America's Inca empire. He has published two books with Cambridge University Press, as well as articles in The Art Bulletin, Critical Inquiry, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics and The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He is currently engaged in a project of public archaeology and museum programming in Cajamarca, Perú.

Herring holds degrees in art history from Princeton University, University of California Berkeley and Yale University.

Rachel Debuque (Presenting March 11, 1:30-2:45 p.m.)

Debuque will present at an open forum on March 11. Debuque is an associate professor and associate director of the School of Art at George Mason University. Since joining George Mason University in 2014, she has held roles as director of undergraduate studies and director of studio foundations. Her leadership roles are centered on fostering accessible and inclusive communities.

Debuque is also a visual artist and designer whose work spans installation, sculpture, video and performance. Her research explores identity, psychology, spiritualism and consumerism. She is interested in how these topics can pair with accessible expressions of humor, joy and absurdity to defy traditional art paradigms.

Her work has been exhibited nationally, including in the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, D.C.; Vox Populi in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work is also featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, Washington City Paper, Bmore Aart, Maake Magazine and ART 21 Magazine.

She was an artist in residence at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and received the Southern Constellations Fellowship at Elsewhere: A Living Museum. She is a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Grant for Sculpture and 2018 and 2023 Robert K. Purks Faculty award.

Debuque received her M.F.A. with an emphasis in sculpture at the University of Georgia and her B.F.A. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


Chief of Staff Laura Jacobs is chairing the search committee for the director of the School of Art position.

"Laura and the committee have done excellent work to bring us to this point, and we are all very excited to host such well qualified and impressively experienced candidates," said Kathryn Sloan, interim dean of Fulbright College.

"We hope you will participate in the open forums and provide your feedback, which will be instrumental in the selection of the School of Art's next leader," Sloan said.

In addition to Jacobs, the search committee also includes the following members:

  • Mindy Besaw, director of research, fellowships and university partnerships at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • John Blakinger, art history program director and endowed associate professor of contemporary art for the School of Art
  • Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
  • Cheryl Finley, inaugural director of the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies
  • Gaby Hernández, interim assistant director of the School of Art and endowed associate professor of graphic design
  • Marc Mitchell, director and curator of exhibitions and associate professor of art for the School of Art