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Updated 3/31/22: Tufts University is deeply saddened to report the passing of incoming School of the Museum of Fine Arts Dean Margaret Vendryes. The announcement below remains a testament to the excitement the Tufts community felt in anticipation of her arrival in Academic Year 2023, and its sorrow at her untimely loss.

I am delighted to announce that Margaret Rose Vendryes will join us as the next Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

Throughout her impressive career Margaret has been deeply involved in the arts and she brings with her a complex understanding of the field from the perspectives of an art historian, a visual artist, a curator, and an educator. 

She is currently a Professor in the Department of Performing and Fine Arts and Director of the Fine Arts Gallery at York College at the City University of New York (CUNY). An accomplished academic, Margaret has been a Professor of Art History for over twenty years and previously served as Chair of her department from 2015 to 2021. Among her many publications, she authored Barthé: A Life in Sculpture (University Press of Mississippi, 2008), which was the first complete biography of African American sculptor Richmond Barthé. 

Margaret has worked towards celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion throughout her career. Under her leadership, York College’s Fine Arts Gallery shifted its audience focus to include the local Queens community. As part of that initiative, she founded the Southeast Queens Biennial and the upcoming inaugural Jamaica Summer Artist Residency at York College. She has served in leadership positions on many campus-wide committees, including those for Writing Across the Curriculum and the Africana Studies Center, and was the LGBTQ+ faculty liaison during her time at York College. Both within York College and through her work with several community organizations, Margaret has been a dedicated advocate for members of underrepresented groups and the LGBTQ+ community.

As a visual artist, Margaret describes herself as being “concerned with representations of gender, race, and cultural identities in the African Diaspora.” In particular, her over fifteen-year-long ongoing painting and mixed media series The African Diva Project is “informed by her engagement with African aesthetics and popular African American music and visual culture.” Margaret has exhibited widely, including in New York, Chicago, Boston, and at Art Basel Miami Beach. Interestingly, her debut solo exhibition, African Divas: Paintings by Margaret Rose Vendryes, was exhibited at the Tufts University Art Galleries’ Slater Concourse Gallery in 2011. 

Please join me in welcoming Margaret to our campuses when she officially starts in her new role as SMFA Dean on June 1, 2022.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the staff, faculty, administrators, and students who participated on the search committee, and especially to Dina Deitsch, Director and Chief Curator of the Tufts University Art Galleries, who expertly chaired the committee. Likewise, I am indebted to Nate Harrison, Dean of Faculty for SMFA, who is serving as our interim SMFA Dean until Margaret’s arrival. 

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