Peter M. Lukehart
Having served as a curator, museum director, professor of art history, and administrator of a research center, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with artists and art historians, whose company I enjoy and whose accomplishments I admire. My current position as Associate Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) brings me into regular contact with an international cohort of hundreds of colleagues and graduate students each year, both candidates for the fellowship program I administer and participants in programs. CASVA supports research in the production, use, and cultural meaning of art, artifacts, architecture, urbanism, design, photography, and film from prehistoric times to the present. Thus I would bring to the Board of CAA a personal familiarity with a wide swath of practitioners of art and art history of all periods and cultures, as well as a deep sense of respect and support for the contributions that they are making through their work, scholarship, and service.
In addition, my research has made me aware of the important role that digital art history can and will play in our disciplines. As the director of a research database of primary documents concerning the history of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, where my scholarly interests intersect with those of a modern academy (like CAA), it has been gratifying to see art history, design, and technology come together in the creation of a publicly accessible website (http://www.nga.gov/content/accademia/en/intro.html). In the process, I have also learned the importance of building successful teams—locally, nationally, and internationally—and creating transparent communication.
In response to CAA’s strategic plan, I would endeavor to represent the full membership of CAA; that is, artists, art historians, design historians, academics, and museum professionals; those employed, and those struggling to put a career together; those affiliated with an institution, and those who are independent. Concurrently, we need to expand our outreach to new and ever-more diverse populations, especially in career areas where they are underrepresented, such as museums and art history. I would stress participation and involvement at all levels of CAA. The annual conference can create, but, given its frequency, rarely sustain momentum. The bi-weekly newsletter is a good beginning, yet we also need to illuminate the contributions of members regularly and more widely. Further, we should offer more venues—similar to THAT Camp and portfolio, résumé, and interview preparation—that would help members acquire the skills and support they need to flourish. Advocacy can be effective, as we have seen in the major progress made regarding image rights: impressive numbers of museums now provide open access to their collections. At a practical level, CAA should strive to set standards for excellence in the fields practiced by its members, providing goals for teaching studio art, design, art history, and digital art history; adding new and diverse voices to those who practice our professions; and establishing mentoring and peer-to-peer networks.