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Anne Gaines

Faculty / Anne Gaines, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF FINE ARTS AND DEAN, SCHOOL OF ART, MEDIA, AND TECHNOLOGY


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“Too many students lack access to arts education, and having any experience often becomes a question of privilege or chance,” says Anne Gaines, dean of the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design. “It’s been tremendously rewarding to make the educational resources of Parsons available to our local community through my various roles here.”

A native of rural Tennessee, Gaines was a math major as an undergraduate until a contemporary art history course inspired her to become a studio practitioner. After moving to New York City, she worked in a gallery and developed a studio practice, then entered Parsons as an MFA student. “I chose to study fine art in a design school because of the exposure and opportunities it afforded. Through my graduate experience I was able to explore my passion for art and for art and design education.”

As a painter, educator, and Parsons alumna, Gaines appreciates Parsons’ broad perspective on what it means to be an artist. “When I was an undergraduate, my perception was that your only career option as an artist was to exhibit commercially.  However, there are unlimited ways for students to thrive through their creative endeavors in our complex and diverse city in their own unique ways. There are many paths to success.”

Today, as Dean of the School of Art, Media, and Technology, Gaines is particularly interested in the role of community and culture in a large urban center like New York City. “My focus on community plays out both in my art and in my work at Parsons.” A particularly satisfying part of Gaines’ job is her work with Parsons Scholars, a needs-based program for urban youth. The program enables high school students to take classes at Parsons from their sophomore year through graduation. “It’s incredibly rewarding to watch these youth grow through their commitment to a really rigorous and challenging extracurricular program. They are making an investment in themselves and their future.”

Graduates of the program who go on to study at Parsons as undergraduates often become mentors to the next class of Parsons Scholars. “They’re only a few years older, but having just had the experience of choosing a college, they are positive role models and inspire their younger peers.”

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