New leader picked for USC art school

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The University of Southern California announced yesterday a new dean will take over its art school in August.

In the art world, Rochelle Steiner has developed a reputation for thinking big. Two years ago, while at the Public Art Fund, Rochelle Steiner commissioned artist Olafur Eliasson to create monumental waterfalls under the Brooklyn Bridge and three other New York City locations.

Steiner believes public art enriches how people experience a city and generates healthy debates. She said she accepted the position of dean in part because of USC's unique public-art studies program.

"I think the idea that USC has a particular program focusing curatorial studies on the development of public art and what kind of role that has in transforming a city is amazing," she said.

As dean, Steiner will have a large say in the direction of the 115-year-old art school. USC's national profile in art has grown in recent years. It awarded about 100 graduate and undergraduate art degrees last year.

Real estate developer Ed Roski, a USC graduate, donated $23 million to the art school's endowment four years ago.