Stephanie Wiles of Cornell named next director of the Yale Art Gallery

Wiles will serve as the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery beginning on July 1, 2018, announced President Peter Salovey.
Stephanie Wiles, Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery
Stephanie Wiles (Photo credit: Jon Reis Photography)

Stephanie Wiles, currently the Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, will serve as the next Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, announced President Peter Salovey. Her appointment will begin July 1.

I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Stephanie Wiles,” Salovey said. “She is an inspiring leader who is excited by the power of art to help us make connections and spark new ideas. I know she will steward the gallery — one of Yale’s finest treasures — while, together with other arts leaders on campus, envisioning new possibilities for the arts at our university.”

Wiles comes to Yale with over 20 years of experience leading college and university art museums. In her prior roles, Wiles has led efforts to connect the visual arts to other areas of university life by developing interdisciplinary courses, reimagining gallery spaces to be more inviting to visitors from campus and beyond, and spearheading exhibitions and publications to showcase research. She served on several committees at Cornell Tech, a science and technology graduate school in New York City, tasked with bringing art to the campus and into the curriculum. Wiles has successfully created educational and research opportunities across disciplines that take advantage of museum collections. She secured funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop eight semester-long courses that bridged the arts, humanities, science, and engineering.

At Cornell, Ms. Wiles oversaw the negotiation and completion of “Cosmos,” a site-specific light sculpture by Leo Villareal ’90 comprising 12,000 LED lights. The work, named in honor of scientist Carl Sagan and visible across campus and from many parts of Ithaca, is a beacon attracting visitors to the museum. 

Stephanie shares my commitment to connecting the arts to everything we do at Yale,” Salovey said. “The arts can bring us together, inspiring us to see ourselves and the world with new eyes. As we continue to foster an even more unified Yale, we are imagining new ways to connect the gallery’s magnificent resources to education, research, preservation, and practice. I am confident Stephanie will guide these efforts with enormous wisdom, creativity, and vision.”

Wiles began her career in the department of drawings and prints at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City; she later assumed leadership positions at Wesleyan University, Oberlin College, and, most recently, Cornell. Wiles received her bachelor’s degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a master’s degree in art history from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and a Ph.D. in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her dissertation surveys the careers of British-born artists Thomas Charles Farrer, a Ruskin admirer and leader of the American Pre-Raphaelites, and his brother Henry Farrer.

In making the announcement, Salovey expressed his deep appreciation to members of the search committee: Mary Miller (committee chair), Sterling Professor of History of Art and senior director of the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage; Emily Bakemeier, deputy provost and dean of faculty affairs of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Tim Barringer, the Paul Mellon Professor in the History of Art and chair of the Department of the History of Art; Deborah Berke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture; Susan Gibbons, the Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian and deputy provost for collections and scholarly communication; Daniel Harrison, the Allen Forte Professor of Music Theory; Roger Horchow ’50, a member of the Yale University Art Gallery Advisory Board; Ian McClure, the Susan Morse Hilles Chief Conservator of the Yale University Art Gallery; and John Walsh ’61, a member of the Yale University Art Gallery Advisory Board and director emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Salovey praised the tenure of Jock Reynolds, who will step down as director on June 30, noting that he had led the Yale University Art Gallery “with distinction, energy, and originality for 20 years.”

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