Joseph S. Lewis III, a nationally known artist, arts educator and administrator, has been named dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine, effective March 24, 2010.

“Joseph Lewis is both a recognized artist and a gifted administrator who has experience with strategic planning, fundraising and stewardship, curriculum and program development, budget management, and community-partnership building,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “I am excited to welcome this dynamic and energetic leader to our university.”

Since 2004, Lewis has been dean of the School of Art & Design in the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in New York, which boasts a rigorous curriculum with significant interdisciplinary partnerships between art and technology. In that capacity, he has been responsible for enhancing the school’s reputation, creating and implementing international programs, cultivating donor relationships and – in partnership with faculty – developing a new mission and vision for the school. He oversees the University Gallery, visiting artist program and student-run exhibits. Prior to Alfred University, he was dean of the School of Art & Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Lewis also has worked in municipal government and the philanthropic arena. He was an administrator for the Public Art Program, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; project manager for Jackie Robinson Foundation in New York; and co-founding director of Fashion Moda in New York, where he curated and mounted numerous exhibitions and performance events in the U.S. and abroad.

“Being appointed dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts is one of the most energizing events in my professional career,” Lewis said. “The support and trust of the UC Irvine community is truly humbling. I look forward to working with students, faculty, alumni and friends, and staff to build upon the school’s record of achievement, creative excellence and innovation.”

Lewis currently is on the boards the National Association of Schools of Art & Design/NASAD, the accrediting agency for art schools, and California Lawyers for the Arts. He is president of the board of trustees for the Noah Purifoy Foundation in Los Angeles and past president of the National Council of Art Administrators. He served as chair, Department of Art, California State University, Northridge from 1995 to 2001, and as a faculty member at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) from 1991 to 1995.

His work has appeared in many exhibitions, including solo shows at The Durst Corporation and Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York; The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; and the Substation, Singapore; and group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; A9 Space, Beijing, China; the Studio Museum, Harlem; the New Museum; and the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. Additionally, he has written for Art in America, The LA Weekly and Artforum, and been published in anthologies and peer- reviewed journals. Lewis also has lectured extensively on public art, community-based artmaking and the alternative space movement.

Lewis received his M.F.A. in 1989 from Maryland Institute, College of Art and a bachelor’s in 1975 from Hamilton College, where he was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. In 2008, he was named New York Foundation for the Arts Deutsche Bank Fellow in Photography.

Lewis will earn an annual base salary of $195,000, subject to a 9 percent decrease during participation in the salary reduction/furlough plan. In keeping with UC policy, additional compensation will include moving and relocation expenses, participation in the Mortgage Origination Program, standard pension and health and welfare benefits, and standard senior management benefits.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,200 staff. The top employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit

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