Jacqueline Stewart named Director of the Gray Center

Jun 23, 2016

Dear Colleagues,
We are delighted to announce that Jacqueline Stewart, Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College, will succeed David Levin as the Director of the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. Levin, founding Director of the Gray Center, and Leslie Danzig, the inaugural Gray Center Curator, will both step down on July 1 to assume new roles within the University of Chicago’s Committee on Theater and Performance Studies.
Under David and Leslie’s extraordinary leadership, and with the support of Richard and Mary L. Gray and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Gray Center has become a new and unique home for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars at UChicago. Working closely with faculty from across the University and a dynamic group of visiting artists and scholars from across the U.S. and abroad, David and Leslie have cultivated an amazing range of projects and conversations. They have created new models for how artists and scholars can collaborate in unpredictable ways—including models for how scholarship and arts practice can meaningfully converge. This work has vitalized our ongoing conversation about the impact of artistic practice within a research university. The Gray Center will be celebrating its first five years during the 2016-2017 academic year.
We are pleased that Jacqueline Stewart has agreed to serve as the next Director of the Gray Center, after serving this past year as Interim Director. Jacqueline’s research and teaching explore African American film cultures from the origins of the medium to the present. She also focuses on archiving and preserving moving images and “orphan” media histories, including nontheatrical, amateur, and activist film and video. She directs the South Side Home Movie Project and is co-curator of the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Jacqueline also serves as an appointee to the National Film Preservation Board. She is currently researching the racial politics of moving image preservation while completing a study of the life and work of African American actor/writer/director Spencer Williams. In addition to her work with the Gray Center, she is actively involved in the Arts + Public Life initiative, co-leading the Green Line Arts Center Advisory Committee, and she is the curator of Rebuild Foundation's Black Cinema House, a community-based film exhibition program.
Please join us in thanking David and Leslie for all they have done to launch the Gray Center, and in welcoming Jacqueline into this expanded leadership role within UChicago Arts. We would also like to thank the Gray Center Advisory Council for its ongoing, enthusiastic support of the Center and of Jacqueline’s appointment. In the next few weeks we will begin the search for a new Gray Center Curator.
We will gather in the fall to celebrate David and Leslie’s success and the bright future of the Gray Center under Jacqueline’s direction.
Eric Isaacs
Bill Brown
Deputy Provost for the Arts