Karen Hofmann

podcast / president / industrial-design
June 01, 2022
Produced by: Christine Spines

Change Lab Episode 59

Karen Hofmann on building an accessible, affordable and inclusive model for art and design education

ArtCenter President-Elect Karen Hofmann

True creativity in the classroom and in the studio relies on diverse perspectives.

Karen HofmannArtCenter Provost and President-elect

To many Change Lab listeners, this guest needs no introduction. She is someone who has burst through seemingly impenetrable ceilings – glass and otherwise – to claim leadership roles historically held by men. She rose through the ranks as a strategic industrial designer before returning to ArtCenter, her alma mater, for a transformative stint as Chair of our Product Design department. She was also a driving force behind ArtCenter’s innovative DesignStorm program, through which major brands engage our students in developing new products and ideas.

This force of nature is none other than ArtCenter Provost and President-elect, Karen Hofmann, who is the first woman to serve in either of those roles. On a personal and professional level, Lorne couldn’t have asked for a better partner in leading this College through the uncertainties of Covid-19 and the enormous logistical, creative, social and emotional adjustments that went along with the transition to remote learning and back. Thanks in no small part to Karen’s dedication and unflagging optimism, ArtCenter has emerged stronger and better equipped to face the future than we’ve ever been. And, come July, Karen will be poised to build on those achievements when she takes office, upon Lorne’s retirement, as ArtCenter’s first female president.

Throughout Karen’s tenure as provost, the College encountered a complex set of challenges. But Karen managed to keep calm and carry on through each new obstacle with the aplomb and solution-minded determination that is the hallmark of every great designer. It was almost as if she was making the case, in real time, that there is no better person to lead ArtCenter through the uncertainties that lie ahead.

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