California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announced the appointment of Evan Tapper as Dean of Extended Studies, the first person to hold this new leadership role. Tapper, who comes to CalArts from the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) in Toronto, Canada, will begin work Aug. 14.
Tapper was the founding director of the School of Continuing Studies at OCAD U, and under his leadership, the School emerged as an essential provider of skill training and lifelong-learning opportunities, offering courses, micro-credentials, and certificate programs for creative professions across Canada. In that role, he established strategic partnerships with universities, colleges, government agencies, community-based organizations, and industry, and has presented at national conferences on the impact of continuing education on the creative economy.
As CalArts’ first dean of Extended Studies, Tapper will work with the dedicated Extended Studies staff and partner with faculty and academic leadership to develop a strategic action plan that leverages CalArts’ international reputation to implement a robust and diverse slate of new programming.
“I am thrilled to have Evan join the CalArts community,” said Provost Tracie Costantino. “His extensive experience in continuing education and his deep commitment to access will help us achieve our strategic goal to bring CalArts’ distinctive education to a wider audience interested in lifelong learning through the arts.”
Tapper’s academic career began in the classroom, and he has taught animation and digital media courses at universities for the past 22 years. Since 2011, he’s taught the digital animation courses in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, and has held teaching appointments at OCAD U, McMaster University, and the State University of New York College at Fredonia.
“It is an honor to be joining CalArts as the first dean of Extended Studies,” said Tapper. “I am so looking forward to working with the Extended Studies team and collaborating with faculty, community members, and industry partners to provide students at all stages of their creative careers access to the transformative educational opportunities at CalArts.”
In addition to his work as an educator and administrator, Tapper maintains an active studio practice encompassing animation, video, performance, and installation. He has received numerous production grants in support of his work, which has been screened and exhibited at festivals, museums, and events around the world, from the Melbourne International Animation Festival and Tate Modern to World Pride.
Since 2005, he has run the youth art program at The Redwood, a shelter for women and children fleeing abuse. There, he recently collaborated with staff, residents, and volunteers on an art installation of video, drawing, and sculpture that highlights the resilience and innovation of The Redwood during COVID-19 and is currently featured in a Toronto History Museums exhibition.
Tapper grew up in Winnipeg, and holds a BFA from the School of Art at the University of Manitoba and an MFA from the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He was an artist-in-residence at the Jewish Museum in New York, the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine, and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan.