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Robert Rindler

bronzeville.jpg A vital school in an exciting neighborhood. That seems to be the vision of MIAD’s new president. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design named Robert Rindler as its fifth president. Formerly Dean of the School of Art at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, Rindler moved to Milwaukee this summer and began working at the college full time in August. “I’ve worked in art and design colleges for three decades,” said Rindler, “and leading a college of MIAD’s high caliber is the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m really looking forward to becoming a part of the college and the art life of its community.” Rindler, 57, has already bought a condo on the top floor of the Marine Terminal Lofts building, near MIAD. In an August 21 edition of the Milwaukee Journal, he admitted that he and his partner had concerns about moving to Milwaukee. “I will admit to living with an East Coast perception that the Midwest is filled with people who have a very specific, one-sided view of the world…. At first I had to look at a map and say, ‘Where is Milwaukee?'” However, the Historic Third Ward neighborhood is making him feel at home. “To pick ourselves up and move to another part of the country was a profoundly important moment for us. Being in a situation where not just the institution, the working environment, but the community would be so embracing of our age, our lifestyle, our particular interests… this is so important to us.” Rindler served as Dean of the Cooper Union School of Art from 1994 to 2005. Founded in 1859, Cooper Union has long been considered one of the nation’s leading art and design colleges. “He’s credited with quite a spectacular job of revitalizing the (arts) school,” said George Campbell Jr., Cooper Union’s president. The MIAD Board of Trustees and search committee selected Rindler for his vision and consensus building skills. After nearly two years without a permanent leader, the arts and design college is working on establishing a long-term plan for the more than 30-year-old arts college. “This moment is not about the new leader telling everyone what to do,” Rindler said. “My role is in energizing the community to reach that decision collaboratively.” Claire Hackmann, Board of Trustees chair for MIAD and chair of the search committee, valued Rindler’s collaborative vision. “We felt he had a real passion to bring the MIAD constituencies together to execute the plan for the future,” she said. At present, MIAD’s future is waiting to take shape. Strategies could include expansion of college programs, particularly in digital media technologies, the phasing out of other yet-to-be determined programs, and physical expansion of the campus, MIAD leaders said. But whatever the future, it should be exciting, and MIAD could continue to gain visibility and importance as a “crown jewel” of the Historic Third Ward. “A truly great art school can radically transform the cultural capital of a city,” began a Sept. 5 article in the Milwaukee Business Journal, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design may well be as Rindler says, “on the verge of a verge” of that kind of change. MIAD 273 E. Erie St. 414-276-7889