Founded in Fall 2022, the Smith Office for the Arts (SOFA) is a new office at Smith focused on unifying arts planning and programming on campus through collaboration and co-creation of programs and initiatives designed to support the creative work of students, staff and faculty. The Office for the Arts will ultimately act as a hub of information about arts activities and events, operating as a central resource for elevating the role the arts can play within the campus landscape. Through developing sustained partnerships, SOFA aims to provide more resources and opportunities for students in curricular, co-curricular and informal arts participation. It will strengthen the presence and visibility of the arts and artists at Smith, providing the capacity to deepen the impact of the arts on campus and in the community.
Leigh Fagin is the inaugural Jean and David W. Wallace Foundation Director of the Office for the Arts at Smith College. She is an interdisciplinary arts and culture producer with over 20 years of experience in arts administration and programming for arts and cultural institutions, nonprofits and higher-education spaces. Before arriving at Smith in Fall 2022, she was the Senior Director of Programming and Engagement for the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, where she worked for over 13 years providing leadership for collaborative arts projects and programs that contributed to the creative culture at the university while supporting the artistic work of students and faculty. In her role, she oversaw university arts engagement including the UChicago ArtsPass program, coordinated exhibitions, performances, artist residences and grant programs, and chaired the UChicago Arts Programming Committee.
Recent projects include Carrie Mae Weems: A Land of Broken Dreams; Hypocrisy of Justice: Sights and Sounds from the Black Metropolis; Jenny Holzer’s YOU BE MY ALLY; CinéVardaExpo - Agnès Varda in Chicago, What is an Artistic Practice of Human Rights?, Centennial Brooks, Envisioning China, a Philip Glass Residency, and Let’s Get Working: Chicago Celebrates Studs Terkel. Leigh also curated the Logan: On Display exhibitions program. During her tenure she launched the Logan Center Bluesfest and the Blues programming initiative, the Logan Collaboration Grant and the Arts & Innovation Series in collaboration with the Polsky Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was acting Program Director of eXp, the Experimental Performance Initiative. In 2017, she oversaw the strategic planning process for the Logan Center as part of the five-year anniversary.
Prior to UChicago, Leigh worked at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, where she oversaw the DanceBridge Residency program, helped launch Chicago Artists Resource and coordinated Chicago Artists Month, which included over 220 visual arts events every year across the city. She has previously worked at MASS MoCA, The Kitchen, Performing Arts Chicago, Lucky Plush and Young Audiences/New York. She has a masters in art education from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a degree in art history from Wellesley College.