posted by Linda Downs — Jul 31, 2015
Linda Downs, executive director and chief executive officer of the College Art Association (CAA), has announced her retirement, effective February 2016. Under her direction during her nine-year tenure, CAA celebrated its Centennial with a new visual identity and reestablished itself as the largest and most active association in the academic and museum visual-arts field. CAA has been a strong advocate on critical issues in the field, including workforce issues such as equity for part-time faculty, changing the restrictions on visas for international scholars and artists, and state and federal support for visual-arts higher education. CAA has made major improvements to its publications: current and archived issues of The Art Bulletin and Art Journal are now available online as a result of a copublishing partnership with Taylor & Francis; caa.reviews became a fully open-access online journal with an increased readership; and the Art Journal Open website was established, with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, to focus more on artists and to complement Art Journal articles in print.
Over thirty professional guidelines and standards were developed through the expertise of the Professional Practices Committee. A task force supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation was established to develop the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, which has greatly clarified what fair use is and how to utilize it for third-party images and materials in creative and scholarly work. CAA has changed its journal author contracts accordingly. Book and author subventions increased to approximately sixteen per year through the support of the Mellon Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, and Wyeth Foundation for American Art. International membership increased through the CAA/Getty International Program, which supported attendance and seminars on international issues at the past four Annual Conferences. The Professional Development Fellowships for Art Historians and Artists was reinstated. A new project, Resources for Academic Art Museum Professionals, that was initiated by the Museum Committee and funded by the Mellon Foundation will establish a social community forum to promote the exchange of information related to the integration of academic art museums into various academic disciplines of study. Following CAA’s strategic plan, task forces have been established to review the structure of the nine Professional Interest, Practices, and Standards Committees, provide guidelines for digital art and architectural history in promotion and tenure, transform and extend the Annual Conference, review the governance structure, and address greater inclusion and attention to design in programs and publications. CAA has laid the groundwork for transforming itself in directions that are critical to the support of the visual-arts field.
The CAA Board of Directors has expressed its admiration for Downs’s outstanding leadership. DeWitt Godfrey, board president, stated, “Linda has brought CAA to a new professional level of service to members and the visual-arts field. We wish her well in retirement and thank her for her dedicated service.”
CAA has organized a search committee and will retain a search firm to seek a new Executive Director.
The College Art Association is dedicated to providing professional services and resources for artists, art historians, and students in the visual arts. CAA serves as an advocate and a resource for individuals and institutions, nationally and internationally, by offering forums to discuss the latest developments in the visual arts and art history through its Annual Conference, publications, exhibitions, website, and other programs, services, and events. CAA focuses on a wide range of advocacy issues, including education in the arts, freedom of expression, intellectual-property rights, cultural heritage and preservation, workforce topics in universities and museums, and access to networked information technologies. Representing its members’ professional needs since 1911, CAA is committed to the highest professional and ethical standards of scholarship, creativity, criticism, and teaching. Learn more about CAA at www.collegeart.org.
For more information, please contact Nia Page, CAA director of membership, development, and marketing.