Carnegie Mellon University today announced that Elizabeth Chodos is the new director of the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery on its Oakland campus. Chodos joins CMU from Ox-Bow, school of art and artists’ residency (Saugatuck, Michigan), where she has worked since 2010, mostly recently as executive and creative director. During her career, she has focused her efforts on promoting the work of contemporary artists through residencies, higher education, exhibitions and public programming, a practice she said she would continue in Pittsburgh.

“I believe deeply that art has the power to transform and that contemporary art offers society a vehicle to participate directly in social change,” she said. “Miller Gallery has a history of blending rigorous exhibition practices with higher education, and it is an honor to join the gallery and continue this work.”

Since it first opened 16 years ago, Miller Gallery has evolved from regionally focused exhibitions to curating and presenting challenging contemporary work by national and international artists.  Recently, Dan J. Martin, dean of the College of Fine Arts, updated the gallery’s direction to better reflect its benefits as an asset for the university. The gallery’s vision and focus was expanded from a conventional environment exhibiting work almost exclusively by external artists into a combined gallery, teaching and research space that creates targeted projects linked directly to the university’s curricular and creative/research interests.

“When we made the changes to Miller Gallery, we saw in this new direction an opportunity to provide fresh and diverse perspectives articulated through the prism of varied creative and research interests,” Martin said. “Our new approach to programming and exhibitions is indicative of Carnegie Mellon’s ability to provide a rich, reflective hybrid experience for our students, and to present new ideas and creative propositions to a general audience.  Elizabeth is the perfect fit to lead us in this new direction.  She has strong and successful arts-center management experience and also brings aesthetic and curatorial skills.”

Chodos said the opportunity to work at Miller Gallery particularly appealed to her because of Carnegie Mellon’s reputation as a renowned research institution. The combination of a rich research environment and extensive arts programs is a setting, she said, that creates connections across fields and demonstrates how “arts, politics, science and technology intertwine and overlap.” She hopes to offer exhibitions and related public programming, publications and interactive web-based platforms that spark conversation about our society and topical issues that matter locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

She is dedicated to making Miller Gallery “open to all,” helping to ensure that exhibitions and programming appeal to a diverse group of individuals who want to experience contemporary art that makes a statement about and truly affects our lives in today’s campus environment, community and the world.

A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., Chodos earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and creative writing. She earned her master’s degree in a dual course of study: art history, theory and criticism, and arts administration. She also completed five internships during her undergraduate studies. Chodos started her career at Threewalls in Chicago, where she began as director of public programs and then served as executive director before becoming a board member. She co-founded Hand in Glove in 2011; it is a “siteless national organization,” which served as a gathering point by and for practitioners in the field of alternative art spaces, projects and organizations. She also co-founded and served as a board member for Common Field, a national alliance of and advocacy group for artist-centered visual arts platforms and their producers.

A board member for Alliance of Artists’ Communities, Chodos also has curated numerous exhibitions across the country, has served as a panelist and moderator for arts-related conferences, and is a contributor to arts publications.