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Press Release for Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Art and Design Chair Leads Southeastern College Art Conference

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

Dr. Debra Murphy, chair of the Department of Art and Design at the University of North Florida, was recently selected to serve as president of the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC). She will serve a three-year term.

The gavel was turned over to Murphy, a Southside resident, in September during the organization’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Prior to becoming president, she served as vice president and had served on the SECAC board of directors Artist’s Fellowship Committee.

She joined the faculty at UNF in 1990, where she has been recognized four times by colleagues and students for outstanding undergraduate teaching. In 2001, Murphy was named arts educator of the year by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and three years later became the inaugural chair of the Department of Art and Design.

In addition to working on Italian art, Murphy’s scholarly agenda includes the study and promotion of important artistic figures, patronage and collections in the North Florida region. She has written and lectured on the patronage of Mrs. Cummer, the Vickers Collection and the work of Helene Baker, Allison Watson, Paul Karabinis, Jay Shoots, Linda Broadfoot and Joseph Jeffers Dodge.

Her book “Passion and Clarity: the Art of Joseph Jeffers Dodge” was published by the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens in 2002. She has co-authored the catalogue essays for the Art Ventures awards exhibition and wrote an essay “Post Abstract Expressionism in the Haskell Collection” for the exhibition catalogue “Image and Energy.”

Murphy earned her doctorate in art history from Boston University, a master’s in art history from Florida State University and a bachelor’s degree in English literature at the University of Florida. She is a member of the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville and chairs the Collections and Exhibitions Committee.