Associate Professor of Art; Chair of the Art Department
Office: Art Center
Education: BA, Indiana University, 1998; MA, Harvard University, 2001; PhD, Harvard University, 2006. At SPU Since 2006.
Dr. Katie Kresser, Seattle Pacific University’s resident Art Historian, believes that great art teaches us empathy, unveils human nature, and forces us to think outside the box. It can do this because it draws on raw human experience, demanding honesty and inspiration, not just adherence to "the rules." Since she was a child, Dr. Kresser has marveled at how eloquently visual art can reveal the mind-spaces of people living far away or in the distance past; for her, Art History has been an unparalleled journey of the imagination. For this reason, Dr. Kresser also believes that art can build bridges today. After all, if art can help us understand the past, it can surely help us understand our neighbor!
In her scholarly writing, Dr. Kresser focuses on the history and criticism of art in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is interested in mapping the artistic process and in the way identity markers such as race, gender, and religion impact both artistic creation and the viewing experience. Dr. Kresser has published on a wide range of topics, including the philosophy of art, art worship, and influential personalities including Paul Cezanne, Yasumasa Morimura, Jeff Koons, and John La Farge. She has won several grants and awards to help fund exhibitions and research, including a prestigious Graves Award in the Humanities from the American Council of Learned Societies. Dr. Kresser is currently working on a book about art, theology, and morality.