Columbia University School of the Arts and the university’s Office of Government and Community Affairs (GCA) announce today that Marcia Sells, currently associate vice president for program development and initiatives in GCA, has assumed the additional title of associate dean of community outreach at the School of the Arts.
“Marcia’s appointment will enable us to develop more opportunities for faculty and students to engage in the cultural development of Upper Manhattan and to establish stronger ties with schools and cultural organizations,” said Carol Becker, dean of the School of the Arts.
This joint appointment, effective today, formalizes an existing, ongoing collaboration between the cultural staff of GCA and the School of the Arts, and establishes the school’s first Office of Community Outreach.
“This innovative joint appointment recognizes Marcia’s breadth of talents and will create an ongoing bridge between our office and the School of the Arts, expanding community access to the intellectual and artistic resources of the school,” said Maxine Griffith, the university’s executive vice president for Government and Community Affairs. “This kind of engagement between the university and our community reflects President Bollinger’s vision of how a true partnership can enhance both Columbia’s educational mission and the lives of our neighbors, whether through the arts and culture, health care and education, training and economic opportunity. We look forward to working with Dean Becker to help fulfill this important element of what it means to be a great urban university.”
The appointment also ensures that the wide range of Sells’ GCA activities unrelated to the arts will continue to thrive. Karen Jewett, vice president for government and community affairs, will continue her role as the primary liaison from GCA to the Office of the Provost and the academic community and will work closely with Sells on projects and programs that are of joint interest. Joining Sells are Orit Yakuel and Lamar Lovelace.
Sells and her staff will continue to develop and coordinate cultural partnerships and programs with local schools and arts organizations in Upper Manhattan, which has included an exhibition program for local artists, The New York Times Great Children’s Read, the Big Read program of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Shall We Dance, an on-campus summer series that brings dance instruction and films to local communities. They will also continue to coordinate partnerships with Columbia Law School and community law offices.
Before college, Sells was a performer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School, and served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and as an associate in the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke before returning to Morningside Heights as dean of students at Columbia Law School. She went on to become vice president of organizational development and human resources at the National Basketball Association, and vice president of human resources at Reuters America. She rejoined Columbia’s administration in 2002.
Yakuel earned her masters degree in art history from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelors degree, cum laude, in art history and criticism from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She served as a coordinator at Penn’s Burrison Art Gallery and as a program coordinator at Drexel University, and has worked on exhibition-related projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Jewish Museum in New York.
Lovelace has served as a development officer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, August Wilson Center for African American Culture and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. He has also worked with the Krannert Center for the Arts and the Upper Manhattan Council on outreach and community revitalization activities. He received his masters degree in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University and bachelors degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.