CalArts Mourns the Passing of Former Provost Jeannene Przyblyski

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Jeannene Przyblyski, former CalArts provost and School of Art faculty, has passed away after a long illness.

Przyblyski joined the Institute in 2012 after serving as vice president and dean of academic affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). In announcing her as the new provost, former CalArts President Steven Lavine lauded her “deep commitment to consensus building and collaboration” which helped her guide CalArts through rapidly changing, artistic, economic, and educational issues.

An accomplished artist, art historian, and educator, Przyblyski sought to connect the arts with local communities.

In 2016, Przyblyski was among the speakers who delivered a “spark talk” at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles based on arts integration. Her spark talk was based on The Some Place Chronicles, a project that combined the talents and artistic practices of many CalArts alumni and faculty, including former School of Art Dean Tom Lawson, Art faculty Harry Gamboa, and alumni Sandy Rodriguez (Art BFA 97), Nicole Miller (Art BFA 05), and Isabelle Lutterodt (Art MFA 01). During her talk (watch in its entirety below), Przyblyski underscored the importance of arts integration:

We want to build whole people. We want to help the growth of whole resilient citizens who are connected to each other and can reach their own personal goals and be nimble in the world no matter what it throws at them. And on the other hand, we want to see those people living in substantial and vibrant places where they feel connected to one another, where they can live and work and feel completely fulfilled.

Lawson shared the following remembrance of his friend and former colleague: 

She was quite remarkable, full of energy. Full on as provost, pushing the modernizations needed in all departments and schools, but also found time to co-teach a class with me. She shepherded a massive project, funded by LA County, to create place-making books in five unincorporated parts of South LA, with me and [Art faculty] Harry Gamboa, plus some Graphic Design students and a number of alumni. And, through connections with her previous job at SFAI, she developed an international MFA program in China, at Hangzhou Academy. Remarkable.

Przyblyski lectured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and other cultural institutions in the Bay Area. Beyond academia, she served on the Board and Advisory Council of the San Francisco Planning and Research Association (SPUR) and the San Francisco Arts Commission, where she chaired the Visual Arts Committee and served on the Civic Design Review and Executive Committees. 

Przyblyski is survived by her husband Eric Jaye and daughter Isabella.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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