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Penland Director Jean McLaughlin to Be Succeeded by Educator Mia Hall

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen as the next director of Penland School of Crafts. Jean McLaughlin has for years been a formidable role model for me, and I find the Penland staff truly inspiring. My family and I look forward with great enthusiasm and excitement to being part of this phenomenal institution’s future.”

Jean McLaughlin, long-time director of Penland School of Crafts, will retire in December 2017. She will be succeeded by artist, educator, and administrator Maria “Mia” Hall who is currently interim chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), where she has been a faculty member for ten years.

McLaughlin began working at Penland in May 1998 and has presided over an extraordinary period of growth, development, and stabilization at the school. During these two decades, Penland has built new studios, expanded programs and scholarships, conducted two successful fundraising campaigns, greatly solidified its base of support, and grown its endowment from $2.1 million to $17 million.

During her tenure, McLaughlin created Penland's world class campus -  adding new studios for iron, wood, printmaking, letterpress, drawing and painting, and book arts, with construction underway for new photography and papermaking studios. The clay, metals, glass, and textiles studios were improved or expanded and there were major renovations to historic buildings, several new housing structures were built, and attention was paid to accessibility and safety campus-wide.

Penland’s two residencies were endowed, a writing residency was established, the workshop program was expanded, and new programs were created to serve the local community. All of this was achieved with support from an excellent staff and a dedicated board of trustees. McLaughlin’s accomplishments were recently honored nationally when she received a 2016 Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.

Mia Hall, a native of Sweden, holds an MFA in furniture design and woodworking from San Diego State University in California. In 2007 she was hired by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to develop a furniture design program and to teach furniture design and contemporary craft courses.

During her time in Arkansas, she worked on the development of the department’s curriculum, served on six hiring committees, helped design and establish a visiting artist workshop series, and organized public events that increased awareness of the university’s craft program. In 2016 she was asked to take the position of department chair, leading fifteen full-time faculty, four staff, and twelve part-time instructors. She has was integrally involved with the funding, design, and construction of the new, 65,000-square-foot Windgate Center of Art + Design at the university.

Hall’s personal work, primarily furniture and mixed-media sculpture, has been shown in numerous exhibitions at venues such as the Arkansas Art Center, 108 Contemporary (OK), University of the Arts (Philadelphia), and Blue Spiral 1 (NC), and is held in many private and public collections.

In accepting the position, Hall said, “I am honored and humbled to be chosen as the next director of Penland School of Crafts. Jean McLaughlin has for years been a formidable role model for me, and I find the Penland staff truly inspiring. My family and I look forward with great enthusiasm and excitement to being part of this phenomenal institution’s future.” Mia Hall will become Penland director on January 1, 2018.

Penland School of Crafts

Penland School of Crafts is an international center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. Located in Western North Carolina, Penland offers workshops in books and paper, clay, drawing and painting, glass, iron, metals, printmaking and letterpress, photography, textiles, and wood. The school also sponsors artists’ residencies, an outreach program, and a gallery and visitors center. Penland is a nonprofit, tax-exempt institution which receives support from the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. More information at www.penland.org.

Read more: http://penland.org/