Carnegie Mellon University

Affecting Change & Advancing the Future

A hallmark of Carnegie Mellon’s College of Fine Arts throughout its rich history has been the evolution and tutelage of today’s creators, advanced thinkers and future leaders in their areas of expertise. These are the people who will innovate, devise new methods of design, architecture and the creative arts, and urge us all forward to meet new challenges to improve our world. In this issue, we look at the areas and people within CFA who are making our society better through advanced thinking, risk-taking and genuinely caring about our communities — be that local, regional, national or international. They are researchers, next-level thinkers, advanced makers and true creative geniuses who are dedicated to affecting change and advancing the future through their work.

Discover How CFA is Affecting Change & Advancing the Future

Dean Mary Ellen Poole

Letter from Dean Mary Ellen Poole

"Artists express the conscience of society and call us to action."


Pearlstein sitting on the CFA lawn with Warhol and Cantor.

Carnegie Mellon University Mourns the Passing of Alumnus Philip Pearlstein, a Titan of Contemporary Art

Pearlstein’s exacting depictions of the naked body — splayed out naturally in his studio with fatigued expressions, slouched postures, harsh lighting and odd cropping along the edges of the canvas — ushered in new possibilities for depicting the human form and influenced generations of future artists. Philip Pearlstein died on December 17 in New York City at the age of 98.

Read More about Philip Pearlstein


Architecture students working.

[ Architecture Event ]

Spring 2023 Public Programs: Extractivism

January 23 – April 3

The politics and geographies of the materials architects use. Where do they come from and how are they extracted? How do we negotiate the human and energy cost of their production? What roles might architecture play in reshaping material economies?

Find more information about Public Programs

LaToya Ruby Frazier

[ Art Event ]

Lecture: LaToya Ruby Frazier

March 27

One of the nation’s most acclaimed photographers. LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work depicts the stark reality of today’s America: post-industrial cities riven by poverty, racism, healthcare inequality and environmental toxicity. By featuring voices and perspectives traditionally erased from the American narrative, MacArthur “Genius” Frazier not only captures our cultural blind spots — she teaches us how art is a powerful tool for social transformation.

Design Lecture Series, Spring 2023

[ Design Event ]

Design Lecture Series

February 13 – April 3

Transdisciplinary thinkers and practitioners from around the world. The power of design addresses some of today's most pressing challenges. Speakers come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines including design, business, the nonprofit sector, education, science and more.

Learn more about the Design Lecture Series

Drama production promotional image

[ Drama Event ]

2022–2023 Drama Season

A reimagined classic, multiversal opportunities, setting conventionalism ablaze. A new take on a classic musical with CMU ties, literary heroines reimagined, and more on stage this spring at the School of Drama!

Find tickets and more information

Student playing music

[ Music Event ]

Concerts and Events

Explore and expand your musical palette. With over 100 performances an academic year, you can experience your old favorites — or find new genres to love.

Find a complete schedule of events

Two BXA students surrounded by an immersive Kaleidoscope exhibit.

[ BXA Event ]

Kaleidoscope Student & Alumni Showcase

April 26 – 30
Hall of the Arts, Second Floor

A kaleidoscope of disciplines and works. BXA students and alumni perform and exhibit their creative work at the annual showcase and reception.

Find more information about Kaleidoscope

Student work from School of Art MFA student Caroline Yoo.

[ Miller ICA Event ]

Student Exhibitions

February 4 – May 13

Fresh ideas and emerging contemporary artists and designers. This Spring 2023, Miller ICA features a lineup of final works exhibited by the Design Seniors from the CMU School of Design, the MFA program and the Senior Artists from the CMU School of Art.

More information for the Student Exhibitions

Dimitris Papaioannou.

[ STUDIO Event ]

Contemporary Performances Practices

February 3

Screening, followed by a Q&A. Contemporary Performances Practices presents Dimitris Papaioannou’s “The Great Tamer.”

Find the more about Papaioannou and The Great Tamer

Group of women playing music, as community members gather and listen.

[Diversity, Equity and Inclusion + School of Music]

"Lullaby Project" Bonds Parents and Babies through Music

Crooning lullabies to babies has been part of the child-rearing process almost since time began. When parents create a personal tribute to their newborns, especially amid difficult birthing circumstances, the results are a magical part of their child’s life journey.

Read More about the Lullaby Project

In Case You Missed It
Highlighted stories that you may have missed coming from all of CFA
Miller Institute for Contemporary Art
Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
Master of Arts Management
magazine cover from 2022 Fall.

Looking for a past version?

You can find past digital and print versions of the magazine, starting with our inaugural 2018 CFA 01 magazine in our CFA MAGAZINE ARCHIVE.

Tell us what you think!

Let us know what you hoped to see — and what you liked! Email us at

College of Fine Arts Magazine

Publisher: Mary Ellen Poole, Dean, CFA
Executive Editor: Pam Wigley
Editor & Digital Content Designer: Alexis Morrell
Art Director: Monica Banaszak
Production Artist: Deborah Allen
Project Manager: Thomas Swiech
Video Producer: Jordan Taylor
Content Entry: Mark Jovanovich


Harrison Apple
Margaret Cox
Dan Fernandez
Amanda S.F. Hartle
Joe Lyons
Valeria J. Martinez
Alexis Morrell
Shannon Musgrave
Heidi OpDyke
Andy Ptaschinski
Lauren Sisco
Elizabeth Sokolich
Tina Tuminella
Cally Jamis Vennare
Pam Wigley

Design & Production

University Communications and Marketing


Margaret Cox
Rory Gardiner
Leonard Kessler
Kevin Lorenzi
Emily Syes
George (Qiaozhi) Wang
Pam Wigley

CFA Leadership

CFA Dean: Mary Ellen Poole, Ph.D.
School of Architecture Head: Omar Khan
School of Art Head: Charlie White
School of Design Head Interim: Eric Anderson
School of Drama Head: Robert Ramirez
School of Music Head: Jonathan Bailey Holland
BXA Senior Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Initiatives: M. Stephanie Murray, Ph.D.
MAM Program Director: Jessica Bowser Acrie
MEIM Program Director: Daniel Green, Ph.D.
Miller ICA Director: Elizabeth Chodos
Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry Director: Nica Ross