School of Art Hosts 'A Retrospective' Exhibition for Michael Peven, Former Art Chair and Photography Professor

School of Art Hosts 'A Retrospective' Exhibition for Michael Peven, Former Art Chair and Photography Professor
Michael Peven

The School of Art in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences presents a retrospective exhibition at the Fine Arts Center Gallery celebrating former art chair and photographer professor Michael Peven and his legacy at the University of Arkansas.

Michael Peven: a retrospective will open Friday, May 3, and will be on display through July 26. The exhibition provides a selective overview of artwork highlighting popular series throughout Peven's career. The School of Art invites students, faculty and the community to the opening reception celebrating the exhibition Friday, May 3, from 5-7 p.m.

Michael Peven passed away in July 2017. Throughout his four-decade career at the University of Arkansas, he actively challenged students and the art establishment. He is often discussed as one of the most respected photography educators in the country.

"Mike's contribution and work for 40 years was instrumental to becoming the School of Art," said Mathew McConnell, interim director of the School of Art. "He built the photography program from the ground up while making a lasting impact within the field of photography. We are honored to share his work and legacy with his family, friends and community."

Peven was born and raised in Chicago where he attended the University of Illinois, Chicago for a Bachelor of Art in design and later, the School of Art Institute of Chicago for a Masters in Fine Arts in photography and artist's books.

He was a prolific and talented artist as well as educator. He began teaching at the U of A in 1977, serving in multiple roles including leading the Department of Art for more than eight years from 1992-2000. Peven directed the photography program until his passing.

Throughout his career, Peven received several teaching awards from institutions such as Mid-American Arts Alliance/National Endowment for the Arts and Arkansas Arts Council, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science and the University of Arkansas Teaching Academy. In 2014, he was named Honored Educator of the Year by the Society of Photographic Education. 

Peven's success extended beyond the university as a photographer, book maker and installation artist. His work was shown in hundreds of exhibitions nationally, as well as internationally. His photographs and artist books can be found in the collections of esteemed institutions such as Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Center for Creative Photography, Tuscan; International Center for Photography, New York; and many more.

Michael Peven: a retrospective invites individuals to rediscover or discover for the first time the incredible work of a professor whose legacy helped build the School of Art future.

Fine Arts Gallery Hours, May 3-10

  • Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Sunday 2-4 p.m.

Summer Fine Arts Center Gallery Hours, May 11-July 26

  • Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Kayla Crenshaw, director of communications
School of Art


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