William B. Crow, the current Educator in Charge of Teaching and Learning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been named the next director of the Lehigh University Art Galleries and Professor of Practice in the department of art, architecture and design. Crow, who officially begins at Lehigh on Aug. 1, will carry on the role held by Ricardo Viera, who has served as LUAG director and chief curator since 1974.
During his tenure, Viera established a visual laboratory and teaching collection program, as well as a nationally recognized collection of Latino and Latin American photography and video. Viera also serves as professor in the department of art, architecture and design, where he teaches museum and curatorial studies, the history of photography, visual thinking strategies and Latino art and culture.
Provost Patrick Farrell said the university’s goal in selecting someone to build on Viera’s extraordinary legacy was to identify a candidate with “a clear vision for engaging, vibrant and public-facing gallery and display spaces, as well as for the role of educator within an interdisciplinary research university setting. We feel Dr. Crow brings those attributes to his new role at Lehigh, and we are excited to have him join us and lead the Lehigh University Art Galleries into the future, particularly at a point when the university is experiencing such a positive and promising trajectory."
Donald Hall, the Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said he is “thrilled that we are able to welcome to Lehigh one of the most gifted and high profile art educator/administrators in the United States. Lehigh University Art Galleries could not be under more capable leadership. Crow will no doubt build successfully upon the years of incomparable work by Ricardo Viera, and bring further national luster to our galleries."
Crow said that he is “honored to lead the Lehigh University Art Galleries into its next phase of growth and impact, and to join the accomplished faculty in the department of art, architecture and design. Throughout the selection process, I was welcomed with open arms, and I am grateful for having received a dynamic preview of life at Lehigh and the City of Bethlehem.”
The arts, he said, “are essential for innovation and problem-solving, and help us see the world from new perspectives. The rigorous and interdisciplinary climate of Lehigh, along with its impressive art collection, is an exciting combination that will provide infinite creative possibilities. I look forward to joining and contributing to this inspiring community.”
In his role at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Crow led education programming across the museum’s three New York venues—its main campus on Fifth Avenue, the Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters—serving more than 500,000 visitors annually, ranging from pre-k through adults. He also led the strategy for all pedagogical training for museum staff and docents, conducted research and evaluation to assess learning outcomes, and supervised a large staff.
He had served in various positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art since he joined the full-time staff in 2003. He quickly rose through the ranks of the museum, with promotions of increasing responsibility and scope, and was selected for his current role in 2016.
Prior to his time with the Metropolitan, he was a gallery educator at the Morgan Library and Museum, a curatorial assistant with the City University of New York, Hunter College, and was an exhibition site supervisor with Creative Time in New York.
He has taught as a Fulbright Visiting Global Specialist for the U.S. Dept. of State in Lima, Peru, and in faculty and instructor roles at New York University, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. In 2015, he received the University Excellence in Teaching Award from Johns Hopkins.
Throughout the Lehigh interview process, Crow outlined a vision for LUAG, which he characterized as “clearly already a hub of exploration, inquiry and exchange.” He said he would like to build on its significant and diverse teaching collection, education programming and events and partnerships with faculty. He also expressed interest in nurturing a role for the university’s museum as a cultural crossroads and a significant contributor to the local community.
Crow earned his Bachelor of Arts in both Romance Languages and Studio Art from Wake Forest University, where he earned Magna Cum Laude honors as a Presidential Scholar of Visual Art. He received a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College of the City University of New York, a Master of Science in Leadership in Museum Education from the Bank Street College of Education in New York, and his Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Columbia University.
He was selected after an extensive search for Viera’s successor that was chaired by Nicholas Sawicki, Class of 1961 Associate Professor of Art History in the department of art, architecture and design. The committee was looking for a candidate to build on Viera’s significant legacy of accomplishment, as well as shape a strategic vision for exhibitions and educational programming that supports the university’s core research and teaching mission, and advances public engagement, Sawicki said.
“William is one of the leading voices in the field of museum education today, and has a natural talent in leadership that comes across immediately,” said Sawicki. “He is a coalition builder and an incredibly original thinker, and we believe he is perfectly poised to advance the gallery’s connection to both the university and the broader community.”
Search committee members include: