SMFA expands full-time staff with five new hires

Recently hired SMFA professor of photography Rachelle Mozman-Solano poses for a portrait. Courtesy Rachelle Mozman-Solano

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts (SMFA) hired five new staff members this fall in a variety of different departments, according to Dean of the SMFA Nancy Bauer. The SMFA had job openings for an artist in any field as well as teaching positions for photography, metal working, drawing and painting.

These four postings for professor of the practice, the SMFA’s term for highest-tier, full-time faculty, attracted hundreds of applicants, allowing the SMFA to select its top candidates, Bauer said. Many visiting artists, the SMFA’s term for part-time faculty, also applied for these positions, and were evaluated and interviewed through the same process. 

This search process began with the creation of four different committees to evaluate candidates for each of the different positions. These committees included a mixture of experienced artists from that particular field and other artists from unrelated fields who were looking to see if the applicants would be a good fit, according to Bauer. 

Bauer said that the dozen or more top candidates were invited to the SMFA for a day to be interviewed and to give an artist’s talk and added that five artists were hired to join the SMFA staff after the search.

Rachelle Mozman Solano, who also has a background as a clinical psychoanalyst, joined the staff as a professor of photography. 

David Antonio Cruz was hired as a drawing and painting professor, whose expertise in performance art distinguished him as a top choice, according to Bauer. Bauer added that she hopes Cruz’s arrival will help the school to continue its strong tradition in the performance arts. 

Neda Moridpour also joined the SMFA as a professor of graphic arts and print paper. Moridpour’s works combine art and activism, according to the SMFA website.

The search for a metals artists yielded two new hires, both of whom were previously affiliated with the SMFA, accordig to Bauer.

One of these metals professors, Kendall Reiss, was previously a visiting artist, and the other, Tanya Crane, had previously been working at the SMFA part time as a studio manager.

Crane, who has twenty years of experience as a practicing artist focusing on metals and jewelry, said that her metalworking career started later in her adult life and that she has been teaching students throughout her study of metals as well.

“My true education is through the practice and being part of the metalworking community,” Crane said.

Crane said that she would like to expand on the interdisciplinary nature of the school and work to bridge the gap between the Fenway and Medford/Somerville campus. She added that she plans on showing her students that metals aren’t only fine jewelry.

“Metals doesn’t equal only fine jewelry. Metals equals this whole world of art jewelry,” she said.

Crane also said that she is developing a class with the ceramics department for the upcoming semester, currently titled “Food: The Social and Functional Politics of the Table,” in which students will create silverware and tableware and look into culture and politics through an artistic lens.

At the end of the semester, she hopes to use the kitchenware made during the class in a collaborative meal for community members, which will help the SMFA connect with its neighbors. In the future, she explained that she is looking to find more ways to connect her work in metals not only with other arts, but also with natural sciences in order to better collaborate and embrace the interdisciplinary nature of the SMFA.

This interdisciplinary nature appeals to many students, including Abby Jupin, a first-year in the five-year BFA+BA/BS combined degree program. She believes that further expansions in the SMFA will help her to pursue her interests in the fine arts and biology.

The combined degree program helps to form connections between Medford/Somerville and Fenway campuses, but classes dealing with subject matter in many fields will help to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature not just within the fine arts, but in the liberal arts, according to Jupin.

The SMFA may grow more in the coming years, according to Bauer.

“As we build up the number of students in the school as needed, we will continue to add faculty.”