DAVIDSON – Lia Newman will take the reins next month as the new director of the William H. Van Every and Edward M. Smith Galleries at Davidson College.

She comes to Davidson from Artspace Inc., in Raleigh, where she served as director of programs and exhibitions since 2002. Newman will join the Davidson art department in its Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center home.

The galleries provide a forum for the exhibitions and lectures which foster discussions about primarily contemporary artworks in all media for students, members of the community, state, national and international visitors.

“Davidson and its art galleries have a really good reputation regionally and nationwide, and I’m excited to begin my new work,” Newman said. “I was interested in getting back into an academic arena, and working in a gallery that is also used as a teaching tool will provide opportunities to interact with both the college and the local community.”

Newman graduated from Winthrop University with a bachelor’s degree in art history and a bachelor of fine arts degree in general studio, with concentrations in sculpture and photography. She earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Duke University.

“Sculpture is not just bronze and stone. I’m particularly interested in new media like incorporating video or even performances into the artwork,” she said. “The main role of a college art gallery is to show students and the community a spectrum of what’s happening in the contemporary art scene.”

Newman has researched the ways in which national borders affect artists’ identities in the past and said her liberal studies background supplied her with avenues to explore how art affects other areas of the humanities.

Professor Shaw Smith, interim chair of the art department, said, “Newman brings a great deal of energy and significant experience in the contemporary art world to our program. Her education gives her great insight into the fundamental role of the art gallery in a small liberal arts setting, while her sustained experience at Artspace demonstrates her loyalty to the profession and interest in a wide range of gallery and art practices.”

As part of her duties, Newman will manage the college’s permanent art collection, which consists of 3,200 works spanning five centuries and serves as a research resource for students and members of the community. She will also help direct expansion of the campus sculpture program.