Roberta Griffin retired in August 2006, after twenty-three years as an art faculty member and Director of Galleries. She arrived at KSU in 1983 during a time of transition, when the institution had moved from a junior college to a prominent four-year undergraduate school. There were 4,400 students and no art major. Ms. Griffin worked to develop the first art major and introduced many new art courses that contributed to the growth of the undergraduate visual arts program. She has curated more than 100 major exhibitions, many with award winning catalogues and educational brochures. The KSU gallery program regularly receives favorable coverage in regional publications.
She was one of the founders of the country study program, “The Year of……..” in 1984 and organized a major art exhibition each year that focused on the art of the country selected, often teaching new art history courses for that particular country as well. She taught in “Summer Studies Abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico” for five years and has curated many Latin American exhibitions. Ms. Griffin co-founded the Latin American Art Circle with a group of Latino artists in 2001 and organized LAAC exhibitions in the Sturgis Library Gallery in 2002, 2004, and 2006.
As gallery director, she was responsible for the donation of over 200 contemporary works of art valued at two million dollars to the university’s permanent collection, and created a master plan for a sculpture park and gardens on campus through the ongoing project, “Sculpture on the Grounds.” The university currently displays twenty-six works outdoors, with more under development. She worked with the KSU Foundation, architects, and the College of the Arts to develop plans for the new art museum. The first phase of the museum, adjacent to the performance hall, will open next year. In retirement, she continues to work with community arts patrons to increase KSU's permanent art collection and raise awareness of the high quality of the visual arts program.
“What I enjoy most about the art program here at KSU is its ability to grow, the exciting students, dedicated faculty, and the university itself for being so supportive of having a strong gallery and art program,” Griffin said. “Throughout my career here, it was really nice to see growth occur and be a part of it. I have learned as much from my students and faculty colleagues as I hope they may have learned from me, not just about teaching but about becoming a complete human being.” (KSU News, Aubrey Hall, 9/6/06.)
She was the recipient of the Governor's Award for Outstanding Georgia Woman in Art in 1997 and the KSU Distinguished Service Award in 2001. Ms. Griffin exhibits her work regionally, and her art is in the permanent collections of several museums and numerous corporate and private collections. The Sturgis Library Gallery showed a thirty year retrospective of her paintings, drawings and prints from June 7-July 26, 2006. "Transmutations: The Art of Roberta Griffin" received wide recognition in the Atlanta press. She plans to teach several art courses each year as well as to continue to develop and exhibit her own work.