• Todd Gray

    Oct 25| Lectures

    Todd Gray was born in 1954 in Los Angeles. Gray received an MFA and a BFA from California Institute of the Arts and is currently a professor at California State University, Long Beach. He has shown performance work at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater), Los Angeles (2010); California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2009); the Commons, New York University (2008); 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2008); New Renaissance Theater, Syracuse, NY (2007); and Academy of Media Arts, Cologne (2004).

  • Ruby Neri is a sculptor, painter, and former street artist from San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, known for her evocative portrayal of horses.

  • Otis in NYC
    October 27, 2016 
    6 - 8 pm 
    Franklin Parrasch Gallery
    53 East 64 Street
    New York, NY 10065

    Otis College President Bruce W. Ferguson is coming to NYC! 
    Please come say hello and visit with your fellow alumni and friends of Otis College of Art and Design.
    Drinks and hors d'oeuvres.


  • Lecture takes place at 356 S. Mission Rd., co-presented with Ben Maltz Gallery in conjunction with the exhibition Polly Apfelbaum: Face (Geometry) (Naked) Eyes.

    New York-based critic and independent curator Bob Nickas presents his musings on one hundred paintings, choosing one from each year from 1915-2015.

  • Bob Nickas

    Oct 31| Lectures

    Bob Nickas is a critic and independent curator based in New York, having organized more than ninety exhibitions since 1984.
    He was Curatorial Advisor at P.S.1/MoMA in New York between 2004-07, where his exhibitions include: 
    Lee Lozano: Drawn From Life; 
    William Gedney—Christopher Wool: Into the Night; 
    Stephen Shore: American Surfaces; 
    Wolfgang Tillmans: Freedom From The Known. 

  • Looking at the recent works of Sebastian Stumpf one finds an interplay between performance and the recording of performance, between the execution of a physical act and the documentation of it by means of a camera. [He] operates in two distinct realms: in the empty spaces of contemporary art institutions and in urban settings with their preexisting orders. […] An inconspicuous architectural detail suddenly becomes the catalyst for a physical exploit…. The art gallery becomes a space for action.

  • Passionate Voices Expressed in Sound Bearing Plastic: An Evening with Collector Richard Shelton




Provost Randall Lavender

The Provost is the Chief Academic Officer of the College and is responsible for all aspects of academic life at Otis. The mission of the Academic Affairs division is to promote student learning and success through exceptional educational programs, opportunities, and support.

Specific Roles and Responsibilities are distributed among various leaders, including the Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation, the Associate Provost for Academic Administration, and the Academic Projects Manager. 

Areas of education delivery and student support include:

The Provost also serves as the academic liaison to the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and chief administrative liaison to the College’s faculty governance bodies, the Academic Assembly and Faculty Senate, and the part-time faculty union. 

In collaboration with the Student Success division, the Provost oversees co-curricular offerings and student success-enhancing initiatives.

The Provost’s Office facilitates academic administration at the College, coordinates the Academic Meeting Schedule, organizes the Annual Faculty Convocation, conducts the annual Academic Excellence Awards and  Teaching Excellence Awards processes, and, in collaboration with Human Resources & Development, leads the New Faculty Orientation. See also: Faculty Events and Activities



Randall Lavender

Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Chief Academic Officer
  • Academic Planning
  • Continuing Eduction and Pre-College Programs
  • Divisional Budgets and Space
  • Academic Advising and Mentoring
  • Operations and Services

Randall Lavender earned his M.F.A. in Sculpture at Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Ceramics at California State University, Fullerton. He joined the Otis faculty in 1983 following faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University, Claremont Graduate University, and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. A nationally and internationally exhibited artist, his paintings in oil on panel and sculptural tableaux are included in dozens of public and private collections and have been featured or reviewed in numerous books, catalogues, and articles. He served as Associate Chair and Professor in Otis’ Foundation (first-year) program for more than a decade before joining the College's Senior Team and serving as Interim co-Provost, Vice Provost, and in his current position. He has published original research, essays, and articles on art in higher education, educational psychology, contemporary culture, and best college art/design teaching practices in leading art education journals, including Studies in Art Education, Journal of Aesthetic Education, and Foundations in Art Theory (F.A.T.E.) in Review.

Learn more about Provost Lavender at:



Debra Ballard

Debra Ballard

Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Accreditation Liaison Officer
  • Leadership in WASC and NASAD accreditation processes, reporting, and site visits
  • External Program Reviews
  • Assessment of Educational Effectiveness
  • Institutional, Program, & Course Learning Outcomes

Debra Ballard is an educator with extensive curriculum design and leadership experience, published articles, and a record of consultation on education, portfolio use, and assessment in addition to numerous conference presentations at the Western Association of Senior Colleges and Universities, the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design, the Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning, Art Libraries Society of North America, and Educause. She is the author of “Assessment on Their Own Terms” and a graduate of the WASC Assessment Leadership Academy. After teaching for several institutions of higher learning, Ballard joined the Otis faculty in 1993 and became the Chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1996; she also served as Interim Co-Provost in 2010-11. Ballard earned her M.A. with distinction in English from California State University, Northridge and a B.A. summa cum laude in English from the University of Maryland.




Kim Russo

Associate Provost for Academic Administration
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Oversight of Administrative Systems 
  • Human Resources Liaison and Point Person for Faculty Affairs:
      Convocation Planning
      Contracts / Collective Bargaining
      Contact Hour Loads
      Faculty Development
      Sabbatical Planning
      Faculty & Staff Searches
  • Academic Research
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Student Appeals Support
  • Operations and Business Office Liaison

Kim Russo is an artist, writer, and educator who has exhibited her drawings, paintings and installations throughout the United States and in Ireland, and has received residency fellowships from the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Americans for the Arts (in collaboration with the Irish Arts Council), and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Kim served as Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Student Success at California Instituted of the Arts, and as Head of Fine Arts (teaching drawing, painting, writing, and thesis courses) at Whittier College, College of Santa Fe, and Ringling College of Art + Design.  She received her B.F.A. from Tyler School of Art (Temple University) and her M.F.A. from Indiana University, Bloomington.



matthew penkala

Matthew Penkala

Academic Projects Manager
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6815


Primary Responsibilities

  • Academic Project Management
  • Academic Research Support
  • Divisional Calendar
  • Assessment, Budgets, & Administrative Systems Support
  • Web and Publications
  • HEOA Compliance

Matthew Penkala is an artist whose paintings are included in numerous public and private collections nationally, and have been reviewed or featured in numerous publications and catalogues. Penkala came to Otis in 2012, following an interim faculty position in Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art. He served as Academic Coordinator in Otis’ Foundation Program for two years before joining the Provost’s Office. He has also been the Faculty Leader for the Foundation Program’s Paris Travel Elective since 2013. He has worked for various Los Angeles-based design firms providing Art Direction and production for web and print based projects. Penkala earned his M.F.A. in Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art and a B.F.A. in Photography from Arizona State University.




April Kullis

Executive Assistant to the Provost
Ahmanson Hall, 2nd floor
(310) 665-6988


Primary Responsibilities

  • Provost Scheduling
  • Academic Meeting Schedule
  • Faculty Contracts
  • Administrative Routing
  • Budget Planning Support

April Kullis joined Otis in 2002, working in both the Foundation and Liberal Arts and Sciences Program offices. She moved to the Provost’s Office as Executive Assistant in its founding year and has supported the Provost since that time. Prior to her employment at Otis she served for 15 years as clerical support at the Sheriff’s Department in Oakland County, Michigan. She recently completed a Certificate in Graphic Design at Otis College of Art and Design (2012) and is a promising Graphic Designer.


Otis College Ranked 6th in Nation by The Economist