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Ohio State appoints first Vice Provost for the Arts Lisa Florman

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Lisa Florman, a 28-year employee at The Ohio State University, stepped into the role of Vice Provost for the Arts at Ohio State. Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

Ohio State welcomed its first Vice Provost for the Arts Sept. 15.

Lisa Florman, who joined Ohio State 28 years ago as a professor in the Department of History of Art, will serve as the university’s first vice provost for the arts where she will support “the central administration on arts and culture initiatives, priorities and strategies,” according to a news release .

Due to her past experiences as faculty, department chair for eight years and associate dean of interdisciplinary students and community engagement in 2021, Florman said she thinks community engagement will be a major part of her new role.

“We hope to do a lot of reaching out to community organizations, and particularly public schools in Columbus and maybe around the state to think about what kinds of partnerships we might engage with,” Florman said.

Florman’s advising as the new Vice Provost for the Arts includes overseeing the integration of arts into the college’s mission, promoting collaboration between the arts at Ohio State and various communities and connecting the arts with organizations within and out of the state, according to the release.

Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa Gilliam said this new role is meant to support the university’s arts program.

“The idea is that we have fantastic arts here, but we don’t have a vision for the arts that really knits all of it together and helps to describe to the campus and to the community and to the country what we mean by arts at Ohio State,” Gilliam said.

Gilliam said Florman’s career made her a model candidate for this position.

“She’s also been deeply engaged in the arts community, both on campus, in the city and nationally for a very long time,” Gilliam said. “So you needed someone who was really committed but also really knowledgeable and has also already really worked in this space.”

Florman said she is excited for a collaborative future of the arts at Ohio State because new associations may help improve arts activities at the university.

“This is one of the ways in which I think our size is sometimes a curse that we imagine that we, we are an entity unto ourselves,” Florman said. “I’m a firm believer in the idea that, that by reaching out, partnering with others, you can achieve even greater things.”

Florman said she sees similar opportunities for “creativity and innovation” across multiple education tracks within the university.

“It’s a chance to really reimagine how we do things here and what kind of university we want to be,” Florman said. “And, and how can we foreground the arts and creative or innovative activity in general as part of an Ohio State students’ education, because it’s not just important for arts majors to be thinking about creativity and innovation.”

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