School of Art

Dr. Amelia (Amy) Kraehe has been appointed the inaugural Associate Vice President for Equity in the Arts for Arizona Arts at the University of Arizona, beginning Aug. 2. 

Kraehe will partner with Arizona Arts leadership to promote transparency and coordination around the division’s equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, leading effective strategic planning with collective goal setting.

Amy Kraehe portrait
Photo: Audria Abney

“Arizona Arts is committed to racial justice and equity in the arts,” said Andrew Schulz, vice president for the arts and dean of the College of Fine Arts. “Dr. Kraehe is the ideal person with years of experience to strengthen our commitment, recognizing and embracing the diversity of identities, experiences and perspectives in the classroom, in curriculum, recruiting and hiring. 

“I know Amy as a thoughtful researcher, instructor, collaborator and leader. She will help us take those steps as a division to embody the values of equity in and through the arts.”   

Kraehe is a tenured associate professor in the Art and Visual Culture Education program at the School of Art and affiliate faculty in Human Rights Practice. She co-founded the Racial Justice Studio, an interdisciplinary research incubator that promotes understanding racism and anti-racism through artistic and creative practice. 

In the fall, Kraehe will co-teach a new course, ‘Rehearsals in Anti-Racism,’ the studio’s initial effort that provides students an opportunity to use artistic methods to develop critical and embodied knowledge of systemic racism. She has also served on the College of Fine Arts Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the last three years.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing what we can do together in the division to make substantive changes to ensure inclusive excellence is not simply a virtue but instead is a habit that infuses the culture of Arizona Arts,” Kraehe said. “I’m also excited to foster greater connection, coordination, and communications among inclusion innovators in Arizona Arts.”

One of Kraehe’s first responsibilities will be to conduct an equity audit with curriculum mapping across the division. She will also work on redesigning the annual peer evaluation, promotion and tenure policies. Arizona Arts will now offer graduate assistantships to develop the next generation of equity leaders in academia.

“I am excited there will be opportunities for graduate assistantships for students who are interested in studying and practicing culture change in and through the arts. Arts institutions in the U.S. and worldwide are looking for leaders who understand diversity and inclusion issues and the specific ways racism, classism, heterosexism, and ableism manifest in the arts. Graduate assistants can learn from the hands-on experience of bridging theory and practice of culture change.”

Amy Kraehe instructing.
Dr. Kraehe facilitating discussion with works of art by Frohawk Two Feathers at the exhibition, “What is the Color, When Black is Burned? The Gold War. Part 1” at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Photo: Angel Sanchez

Challenging Systems of Inequality 

Kraehe’s research, teaching, and community engagement focus on how the arts and arts education can challenge, but also reinforce, systems of inequality. 

“My research on arts equity offers me, and I hope others as well, a multi-dimensional framework for thinking through social inequality and the complex ways it is replicated and exacerbated within many arts and educational institutions. Arts equity is not simple. People often use words like access, belonging, multiculturalism, decolonization, community, wellbeing, and many others to reflect the different ways they understand socially generated disparities and their effects. I think arts equity seeks to account for these.”  

Kraehe is an award-winning scholar who consults for national arts councils, museums, and state arts education agencies. She has published widely in peer-reviewed academic journals and has served on numerous editorial review boards. She was the Senior Editor of the Art Education journal from 2017-2020. In 2018, she co-edited The Palgrave Handbook on Race and the Arts in Education. 

Her book, “Race and Art Education,” is due to come out this summer. 

“I’m excited to share it with the world. It is an accessible monograph that I wrote with my longtime research partner, Dr. Joni Boyd Acuff, based on our research and teaching about race and racism in the arts. The book project aims to support racial dialogues in the arts. We explore critical capacities, such as historical knowledge, visual racial literacy, and principles of anti-racist art pedagogy, that educators need to teach effectively and equitably in a pluralistic society.”

She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Cultural Studies in Education and an M.A. in Art Education from The University of Texas at Austin.  She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College in Massachusetts with a B.A. in Studio Art and Economics minor.