The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University (IU) has hired Jean A. Graves as the Patricia and Joel Meier Chair of Education. In addition to serving on the museum’s senior leadership team, Graves will oversee an education department that focuses on comprehensive course-connected experiences, pre-K–12 engagement, art therapy programs, and public programming. She will work with her team to develop a creative, mission-driven strategy for learning that prioritizes authentic experiences with works of art from the museum’s collection of more than 45,000 objects.
Graves received her MA in art history from Boston University and her PhD in art education from Indiana University. She will relocate from Orem, Utah, and begin her tenure at the Eskenazi Museum on April 3. A committed art museum educator and administrator, Graves has held positions at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has taught museum-related courses at IU, IUPUI, and Kent State University, and served as a consultant on docent training for institutions that include Wiley House Museum at IU and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.
In 2019, the museum completed a major renovation that included the introduction of new learning spaces in its I. M. Pei–designed building. These spaces include two technology-equipped object viewing rooms, three new galleries, an art studio, and the Kimberly and John Simpson Center for Education. Since the education department’s inception, the Eskenazi Museum has seen key successes in several areas, including rural outreach and wellness activities. The museum was also the first university art museum to hire an art therapist on staff, and our art therapy program has garnered national attention for its groundbreaking initiatives. In the past four years, the education department has added four positions to support its robust program and to anticipate continuing growth. While furthering current initiatives and building on these areas of strength, Graves will forefront expanded engagement and connection with the IU community and prioritize the development of museum interpretation strategies.
Upon news of her hire, Graves commented, “I am delighted to return to Indiana and re-engage with the Bloomington community. The museum’s emphasis on an inclusive environment that centers diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion opens new avenues for all visitors.”
David A. Brenneman, Wilma E. Kelley Director of the Eskenazi Museum of Art, remarked, “I am thrilled to welcome Jean Graves as the new Patricia and Joel Meier Chair of Education. As a teaching museum, we understand the importance of providing students, faculty, and our community opportunities for direct engagement with original works of art. Jean’s connections to the IU community and her enthusiasm for museum education will help us improve our commitment to serving IU students.”