Department chair: Christina Penn-Goetsch  | Contact info

Susannah Biondo-Gemmell, Assistant Professor of Art, teaches courses in 3-D studio basics, ceramics, sculpture, casting, and drawing. Biondo considers herself both an alchemist and a tinkerer in regards to her artwork. Her studio interests include ceramic material experimentation and investigation of the ceramic firing process. Her sculptures and time-based installations become metaphors for greater energy exchange, both personal and geological. Recent exhibitions include shows at the Archie Bray Foundation, the TAG Gallery, the San Diego Museum of the Living Artist, and the Lux Center for the Arts. M.F.A., New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University; B.F.A., Washington University

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Ellen Marie Hoobler, Assistant Professor of Art History, teaches a variety of courses in art history and is particularly committed to the teaching of ancient (pre-Columbian) and modern Mexican and Latin American art. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French and Portuguese, and is an avid traveler, particularly within Mexico and South America, but also in Europe and India. Her current research project deals with artworks as a tool of diplomacy and cultural interchange between Mexico and the United States in the 1930's. She has also lectured, published and researched on folk art, particularly of Latin America; the community museum movement in Oaxaca, Mexico; pre-Columbian Mexico and its historiography; and the uses of technology as a tool for art history. More broadly, additional research interests are in museum studies and collecting, global circulation of objects from the Americas, and cultural patrimony issues. Before coming to Cornell, she studied and taught at Columbia University, worked for the art auction houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s in New York, and has led art-focused tours in Mexico. In the future, she hopes to take classes to Mexico and Latin America to explore art and architecture of those regions. Ph.D.,M.A., M.Phil., Columbia University; B.A., Wellesley College 

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Christina Morris Penn-Goetsch (formerly McOmber), Professor of Art History, teaches courses in art history and is committed to teaching the love of art through the examination of material culture from various peoples and periods. Much of her research focuses on gender studies and the art and architecture of early modern Europe, as well as questions of identity in contemporary art. The latter area includes a passionate interest in Native American art, African art, and art of the African Diaspora. She lectures and publishes on depictions of women from the 14th through the 20th centuries and continues to present her research on the lives of nuns as patrons in 17th-century Rome. Every other year, Penn-Goetsch takes a class to Rome to learn about the myths and history surrounding the Eternal city from Julius Caesar to Mussolini. Ph.D. and M.A., University of Iowa; B.A., University of Virginia

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Tony Plaut, Professor of Art, teaches painting, drawing, collage, and senior seminar. His 2008 Luce Gallery exhibition, YOKO and the WINDOW WALL, included oil paintings, drawings, mechanical sculpture, and an homage to Yoko Ono. Earlier works included assemblages made from wood and found materials; very small paintings somehow inserted into glass wine bottles; mechanical sculptures featuring hand-cranked phonographs; and oil paint on canvas borrowing from the surrealist legacy of biomorphic abstraction. He has exhibited widely throughout the Midwest with major shows occurring in Chicago and Des Moines. His work can be viewed at M.F.A., University of Chicago; B.S.S., Cornell College

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Doug Hanson, Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History, taught courses in sculpture, ceramics, and drawing, including courses in Mexico and Japan for 41 years. Hanson gained an appreciation for other cultures during a 1978-79 Fulbright-sponsored experience in Bristol, England, that provided a philosophical foundation for his career. As a founding member of "Potters For Peace" he has traveled to Central America numerous times and has coordinated exhibitions of pottery from Nicaragua and other countries. His work has appeared in 29 competitive and 115 invitational exhibitions since 1967, winning 12 awards. M.F.A. and M.A., University of Iowa; B.S. and B.A., Moorhead State University


Hugh Lifson, Professor Emeritus of Art and Art History, taught for 36 years at Cornell. He has shown in the Museum of Modern Art, The Nelson Museum of Kansas City, City Museum of St. Louis, San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, Walker Art Center and elsewhere. He works in painting, drawing, and collage which make extensive use of transparencies, either with plastic wrap or with computer generated acetate images. The sources of his work are largely derived from Islamic, Norman and Italian Romanesque, and American Architecture. Visit his website at


Susan Coleman, Gallery Coordinator and Lecturer in Art, has served as coordinator of Cornell's Luce Gallery since February 2000, and she also teaches Drawing I and Studio Basics. Her drawings and paintings focus on landscape themes encountered in the local environment. Susan's work can be seen at Chait Galleries in Iowa City, CornerHouse Gallery in Cedar Rapids, and Quad City Arts in Rock Island, Ill. M.A and M.F.A., University of Iowa; B.F.A., Webster University

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Sandy Dyas, Lecturer in Art, teaches courses in intermedia, video art and photography. Her photo "Katie in Her Wedding Dress" earned a Best of Show award at the national juried art show From Our Perspective: A National Women's Art Exhibition. Sandy's 2007 book Down to the River: Portraits of Iowa Musicians captures her twenty years of photographing musicians in Eastern Iowa, both on-stage and off. Visit Sandy's website at to learn more about her work, including images from Down to the River and earlier projects.

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Cathy Schonhorst, Academic Program Assistant   

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 Cathy Schonhorst