Steven Lavine has for four decades been an artistic, educational, and community leader in the United States and nationally. From 1988 to 2017 he served as President of the California Institute of the Arts, a period of sustained growth in programs, community engagement, enrolment, reputation and financial stability for the progressive multi-disciplinary arts college. Shortly after stepping down, he was recruited as Founding Director and then Chair of the Los Angeles Advisory Council for the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles, which is devoted to bringing creative thinkers from Germany and the United States together around urgent contemporary issues, particularly the future of liberal democracy. Today, he divides his time between the Thomas Mann House and consulting with a broad range of progressive not-for-profit organisations.
Before CalArts, Lavine was an Assistant Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Michigan and then Associate Director of the Arts and Humanities Division of the Rockefeller Foundation, where he supported reform of K-12 educational reform, experimental media, and the development of exhibition strategies for American minority and non-Western arts and cultures. He has co-edited two influential books about museum practices: Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum DisplayandMuseums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture.