Leila Kinney willÂ become director of arts initiatives, effective Oct. 1, Associate Provost Philip S. Khoury announced today.Â
Currently working as administrator for academic programs inÂ comparative media studies, KinneyÂ will work with the associate provost, the Office of the Arts, the MIT Museum, the List Visual Arts Center and the Creative Arts Council toÂ advance the arts agenda at MIT in the areas of strategic planning, communications, resource development and cross-school collaborations.
"Leila Kinney already commands the respect and admiration of the many faculty and staff in the MIT arts community who collaborated with her when she was a faculty member and most recently as a member of the Creative Arts Council," Khoury said. "I am delighted she accepted to become director of arts initiatives, and I look forward to working closely with her for the higher good of MIT's outstanding arts institutions and programs."
Kinney is an art historian with experience in both the School ofÂ Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the School of Architecture andÂ Planning at MIT.Â In her current position, Kinney coordinates a thriving graduate,Â postdoctoral and visiting scholars program and guided the recent approval by the Institute of the bachelor of science degree inÂ comparative media, the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degreeÂ established at the Institute.
Previously on the faculty in theÂ history, theory and criticism section of the Department ofÂ Architecture, she specialized in modern art, with an emphasis on mediaÂ in transition, arts institutions and artists' engagement with massÂ culture.Â Her publications have focused on early modernist painters, worldÂ fairs, hybrid artistic genres and new visual technologies in theÂ 19th century.Â
She also taught in the Program in Women's StudiesÂ and served on search committees for the Visual Arts Program and theÂ List Visual Arts Center. For the College Art Association, KinneyÂ worked on new media communications; she established their first webÂ site, co-founded their electronic reviews journal and facilitated their advocacy for fair use of digital imagery.
"MIT offers unparalleled circumstances for artistic discovery andÂ creativity," Kinney said. "Where else can one find creations such as aÂ Sol LeWitt floor in the physics building, a sonic chandelier in theÂ music library, a digitally controlled water pavilion and anÂ electronic archive of Shakespeare performances alongside exquisiteÂ performances of both classical and original music, dance and theaterÂ by renowned faculty and over 50 student groups? MIT students areÂ famously gifted in science, technology, engineering and math, and atÂ the same time extraordinarily active in the arts. It is a distinctiveÂ aesthetic environment."
Kinney received a BA from Agnes Scott College with highest honors inÂ English literature and art history and an MA from Yale University inÂ history of art. She succeeds LoriÂ Gross, who became associate provost for the arts and culture atÂ Harvard University in July.Â
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 10, 2008 (download PDF).