York professor to receive honorary degree from University of Waterloo

Joyce Zemans, distinguished art historian, curator, arts administrator, University Professor and member of the Order of Canada, is soon to receive another award: on June 17, she will be given an honorary doctor of letters from the University of Waterloo.

                                                         Right: Joyce Zemans

The citation for her latest honour says: “A former dean of Fine Arts at York University and a former director of the Canada Council for the Arts, Zemans has contributed significantly to the fields of art history and curating. She is the author of major texts on important Canadian artists. Among her most recent publications are a study of the impact of reproductions on the development of Canadian art, an examination of the position of women artists in Canada at the turn of the century and an analysis of Canadian cultural policy in the global context.”

A citation made in October 2002 by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, when Zemans received notice about the Order of Canada, said, “Former dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, she is a distinguished art historian, curator, essayist and teacher. Specializing in 19th- and 20th-century Canadian art, she has been tireless in her efforts to cast light on the often-overlooked artistic contributions of women during this period. Curator of several important touring exhibitions, she has served as an advisor to a number of Canadian arts organizations. Her administrative leadership and resolve became evident during her tenure as a director of the Canada Council for the Arts, where she deftly guided it through a period of economic restraint. University Professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and at the Schulich School of Business, she continues to shape our national cultural landscape.”

More about Joyce Zemans

Zemans currently directs the MBA in Arts & Media Administration Program in York’s Schulich School of Business. She teaches Canadian art history and curatorial practice in the Graduate Program in Art History, and cultural policy in the Schulich School of Business and the York/Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture.

From 1966 to 1975, Zemans taught art history at the Ontario College of Art, where she also served as Chair of the Department of Art History and of Liberal Arts Studies. She came to York in 1975 when she was appointed Chair of the Visual Arts Department (1975-1981). She later served as dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts (1985-1988) and was acting director of the Graduate Program in Art History (1994-1995). She held the distinguished position of Robarts Chair at York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies (1995-1996).

From 1988 to 1992, Zemans was director of the Canada Council for the Arts. In 1995, she received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and in 1997 she was made an honorary Fellow of the Ontario College of Art and Design.

For more information about Zemans, click here or read the May 9, 2003, YFile.