Timothy J. van Laar joins CCS as chair of the Fine Arts Department


The College for Creative Studies (CCS) has named Timothy J. van Laar as Chair of its Fine Arts department effective September 2013. A distinguished scholar and art critic, van Laar is also a mixed-media artist working in painting, collage, installation, drawing and more. He's shown his work both nationally and internationally and is a part of many noteworthy private and public collections, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Illinois State Museum, J.P. Morgan, Herman Miller and Columbus State University.

Van Laar comes to CCS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he taught studio art, criticism and art theory. He also served in various administrative capacities at UIUC, including Chair of Painting and Sculpture, Studio Division Chair, Assistant Director of the School of Art and Design, and Director of Graduate Studies. He additionally coordinated the UIUC international program.

Van Laar has shown his paintings, art installations and works on paper widely in nearly 200 solo and group exhibitions across the United States, Europe and China. He has published some two dozen book chapters, exhibition catalog essays and reviews. He has also co-authored three books that are used in art and design programs across the nation. The most recent, Artworld Prestige: Arguing Cultural Value, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2013. He has received numerous awards, grants and honors, including the Pew Charitable Trusts Scholars Grant, Fulbright Fellowship, Yaddo Residency and Arts America Grant.

"Tim van Laar is a highly regarded artist, educator and critic; he is especially well-known in American fine art higher education. We are fortunate that he has joined CCS's ranks,” said Vince Carducci, Dean of Undergraduate Studies for CCS. “His breadth of experience and fresh perspective are sure to prove invaluable to the CCS community, the local art scene and the region as a whole.”

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Van Laar has a BA from Calvin College and an MFA from Wayne State University. He has been a visiting artist, panelist and guest lecturer at numerous conferences, colleges, universities and museums in the U.S. and Europe. His work has been featured in many publications, including Who’s Who in American Art, Die Welt (Germany), Chicago Tribune, ARTnews and The Detroit News.

“The College for Creative Studies' roots in the fine arts go all the way back to its founding in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts,” said Richard L. Rogers, President of CCS. “Many distinguished artists have taught here, and many more have graduated from here. I'm excited that Tim van Laar will be joining us to carry the fine arts legacy of CCS forward and to lead the Fine Arts department into the future. We are fortunate to have such an accomplished artist and scholar joining not only the CCS community but the Detroit cultural community as well."

In this role, van Laar will set the vision and oversee the academic practices of the Fine Arts department, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and new media such as video, installation and performance art. Van Laar’s responsibilities include curriculum development, enhancing the student experience and faculty enrichment. He is expected to introduce innovative working methods and a greater engagement with contemporary theory and professional practices into the program.