Karen Bell Named Associate Vice President for Arts Outreach
Karen A. Bell, dean of Ohio State's College of the Arts since 2002, has been named the university's first associate vice president for arts outreach.
Bell, a well-known choreographer and performer, was instrumental to the creation of the OSU Urban Arts Space, a gallery and alternative performance venue in the former Lazarus building in downtown Columbus. As a statewide center for artistic activity and launching pad for OSU students, the Urban Arts Space is among Ohio State's most visible university-community connections.
“Under Karen's leadership, the College of the Arts has engaged the public in unprecedented fashion,” said Provost Joseph A. Alutto. “For many in the City of Columbus, the Arts' vibrant agenda of concerts, plays, lectures, workshops, and exhibitions marks the primary point of contact with Ohio State. The college's outreach to schools and collaborations with the business community provide creative opportunities for elementary, middle, and high school students and learning opportunities for our own students. Karen's expertise—and her commitment to engaging the public with the arts—make her the perfect fit for this job.”
Senior Vice President and Special Assistant to the President Jeff Kaplan points out that this is a moment of special challenge for the arts in central Ohio. He also notes that those challenges bring new opportunities, especially in light of President Gee's call last autumn that the university revitalize its covenants with the community.
“In creating this new position, Ohio State is affirming its commitment to the arts, which are critical to the cultural and economic vitality of our state. Our renewed outreach efforts will naturally include education and business outreach. We want to vigorously support the arts as another essential component of our plan. Karen is the ideal choice to lead that effort.”
As associate vice president for arts outreach, Bell will report to Kaplan. She will be responsible for expanding Ohio State's community arts presence and broadening the university's national visibility as a leader in arts outreach.
President E. Gordon Gee says that Bell will bring new vitality and energy to the university's mission of outreach. “As a land-grant university, we have a sacred responsibility to contribute to the communities that support us. Ohio State may be the nation's largest campus, but it is not a world unto itself,” said Gee. “We are located in Columbus, in Ohio, in the United States. We are in the service of these larger communities. We have to make a difference. Karen Bell is uniquely qualified to help us do that.”
From 1995 to 2001, Bell was chair of the Ohio State Department of Dance, one of the leading dance departments in the country. She also served as associate dean of the College of the Arts from 1992 to 1996 and was responsible for the college's undergraduate academic programs. She joined the Ohio State faculty in 1980.
She has been a visiting assistant professor at Cornell University and, prior to coming to Ohio State, taught at Cornell, Wells College, Elmira College and the State University of New York at Potsdam. She holds a master of fine arts in dance from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., and a bachelor's in sociology from SUNY Potsdam.
Her current research interests are two fold: movement theatre and women's leadership. She continues to choreograph and perform, concentrating most recently on duet and solo work. She has performed as a free-lance dancer in New York City and was a member of the Ithaca Dancemakers. In 2005 she co-authored “Women Leading the Way: Reflections on Life and Leadership.”