College of Fine Arts appoints new dean of drama, music and visual arts

artistic leadership

Playwright Kirsten Greenidge, painter Mark Schepens and cellist Michael Reynolds will take on new roles on July 1

This article was originally published in BU today March 20, 2024. Photo by Sidney Scott

A playwright, a painter and a cellist who is the founder of a world-renowned string quartet will take over as dean of three schools in Boston University’s College of Fine Arts on July 1.

Kirsten Greenidge, an award-winning playwright and CFA associate professor of playwriting and dramatic arts, will serve as dean of the School of Drama. Marc Schepens (CFA’12), senior lecturer in art and painting, will begin a two-year term as interim dean of the School of Visual Arts. Michael Reynolds, cellist of the Music, Cello and Muir String Quartets since 1979, will lead the School of Music.

“I am very excited about this new group of leaders,” said Dean Harvey Young, CFA. “They are incredible artists, truly of the highest caliber, student-centered and committed to enhancing the fine and performing arts at BU and beyond.”

Greenidge wins Obie Award for drama sugar like milkwill succeed Susan Mickey, CFA Professor of Costume Design and an award-winning professional, who has held the position for the past five years.

Obie Award-winning playwright Kirsten Greenidge has been named the next dean of CFA’s School of Drama. Photo by Simon Simard

“Kirsten Greenidge is a versatile and in-demand playwright whose work is transforming American theater,” Young said. “As a mentor, educator and advocate for new work, she is the right person to lead the development of a new generation of theater artists.”

Greenidge is known to theater audiences in Boston and across the country for her plays that explore race, class, and gender, including irish luck and baltimore. She is next morning, noon, night, A co-production between the CFA and First Company Theater of Boston, opening in April. She founded and maintains new productions for the School of Drama, including Home Page, Springboard Reading Series and Next Level Workshops.

She is a past winner of the PEN/Laura Pells Playwright Award, Boston Playwrights Award winner, Company One Artist-in-Residence, and Huntington Playwright Fellow. her drama Re-examining the common groundAdapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Boston school busing crisis of the 1970s, co-conceived by J. Anthony Lukas and Melia Bensussen, it will be produced by the Huntington Theater Company in 2022.

Mark Schepens
Marc Schepens, a CFA senior lecturer in art and painting, will serve as the new dean of the School of Visual Arts. Photo courtesy of Schepens

Schepens will serve as interim dean of the School of Visual Arts. He succeeds Dana Clancy, associate professor of art and painting at CFA and director of the faculty for the past six years. In his new role, Schepens will lead the school’s strategic planning efforts, where he has been director of undergraduate studies.

“Mark Schepens played a key role in the design of the new Visual Arts degree, which was instrumental in the rise of the CFA Visual Arts nationally,” Yang said. “As an active painter throughout New England, he is well-qualified to lead CFA’s School of Visual Arts.”

In addition to being a noted painter, Schepens also produced paintings and prints. He is deeply involved in the medical curriculum of the Boston University Museum of Fine Arts MFA program and helps mentor high school students in the Boston University Visual Arts Summer Institute. His recent solo exhibitions include east corner, Bromfield Gallery, Boston; dog painting, Harvard Medical School Transit Gallery; and works on paper, Harbor Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

At the School of Music, Reynolds succeeds Gregory Melchor-Barz, professor of ethnomusicology, who has held the position for the past five years.

Michael Reynolds
Michael Reynolds will lead the CFA School of Music. Photo courtesy of Reynolds

As founder and current cellist and soloist of the acclaimed Grammy Award-winning Muir String Quartet, Reynolds has performed more than 2,000 concerts around the world and has performed with Leon Fleisher, Menachem Pressler, Gil Shaham, Richard Stoltzman and many other artists have performed together. The Muir String Quartet was recorded on the EcoClassics label founded by Reynolds.

The quartet has been resident at CFA since 1983, the same year Reynolds began teaching there, and the group has held annual summer seminars at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI).

In 1997, Reynolds established the Children’s Classic Foundation (CFKF), a grant program that supports word string programs serving rural and at-risk youth in all 50 states. Matching grants from the foundation fund high-quality string instruments, including ukuleles, guitars and harps.

“Michael Reynolds is a champion of the transformative power of music in people’s lives, especially the lives of young people,” Young said. “As an award-winning musician, a dedicated mentor and an outstanding philanthropist, he has a clear vision for how to further enhance the pioneering conservatoire that has already achieved so much.”

Greenidge and Reynolds are expected to serve three-year terms and Schepens two-year terms. School leadership positions are held by senior teachers on a rotating basis.

Mitch will retire at the end of this academic year, while Clancy and Melchor-Baz will each take a leave of absence before returning to teaching in 2025.

I am very excited about this new group of leaders. They are incredible artists, truly of the highest caliber, who are student-centered and committed to elevating the fine and performing arts at BU and beyond.

-Dean Harvey Young, CFA

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