In a quest to create a moment of separation from the grinding world of reality, Dr. Leslie King-Hammond turned to the plentiful corridors of art. As a little girl, King-Hammond would use art as a support system and a way to release all of the built-up creative energy harboring in her adolescent frame. But now as an educator and world-renowned art curator, art is no longer a way to a second life; it has become her life.
Born and raised in New York City, Leslie King-Hammond was reared in an era of boiling racial tension that created a prime opportunity for a microscope to be focused on the inequality that was harboring in America. That’s why education was so important to Oliver King and Evelyne Alice Maxwell King, as they knew that knowledge would be the key for their daughter to survive in an ever-changing world. The classroom is where King-Hammond excelled; as she would go on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University, thus landing in a city where she would have an everlasting artistic and cultural impact.
For nearly 40 years, Dr. King-Hammond has brought her vigorous expertise of the art world to the halls of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. And now as the Graduate Dean Emeritus and Founding Director of the Center for Race and Culture at MICA, King-Hammond has found a unique way to merge both the roles of art and the perplexing issue of race in our society. This fusion has created a think tank-esque experience not only on the campus of MICA, but also in the city and community that surrounds its campus.
Dr. King-Hammond has accumulated a plethora of awards and accolades during her prestigious career as an curator, educator, historian and forward thinker. She has served as the Doctoral Supervisor for Howard University’s Department of African Studies and on the Board of Directors of the International House of Art Critics. She also brought home the National Endowment for the Arts Award in 2001. But with all of her success, nothing may bring her more satisfaction then the gift of spreading the vital love that art can bring to one’s life. This is something the doctor can attest to first hand.