Photograph by Karen Milnes 2020
Robert Milnes resides in Asheville, NC where he moved after retiring as Dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas on August 31, 2014. He has worked in ceramics since 1969, often combining clay and copper or steel, in geometric and loosely figurative works. Under Robert Milnes Studio, he creates unique sculptures, containers, and occasionally furniture. Through Arbitrary Forms Studio, he produces unique clay vessels.
Robert Milnes’ artworks have been included in over 175 exhibitions nationally including 28 one/two person shows. The works are represented in private and public collections including the Renwick Gallery (Smithsonian Institute), Arizona State University, the Seattle Arts Commission, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Erie Museum, and numerous private collections. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pittsburgh (1987), a MFA in Ceramics from the University of Washington (1974), and a BA in Philosophy and Fine Arts from Claremont McKenna College (1970).
Milnes is a Life Fellow of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and Emeritus Dean of the College of Visuals Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, where he served from January 2006 through August 2014. He served previously as Professor of Art and Director of the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University, a position he held for fifteen and a half years. A sculptor and ceramist, prior to his arrival in San Jose, he served as Director of the School of Art at Louisiana State University (1987-1990) and as Chair of the Art Department and Professor of Ceramics at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (1974-87). He taught ceramics at the Penland School of Crafts in 1972 and 1979. Travels to art centers, museums, and universities in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Cuba, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Qatar, Germany, Scotland, Kuwait, Ireland, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates have augmented his inquiries, along with sabbaticals in China and Mexico.
Milnes served a three-year term as President of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design from 2008-2011, as Vice President of NASAD from 2002-5, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of NASAD from 2000-05, and from 1991-1997 as a member of the Accreditation Commission. He is past-president of the National Council of Art Administrators. Since 1990, he has served as a consultant or evaluator for fifty-eight universities, colleges, and independent schools of art, chairing 34 accreditation teams for NASAD. He is past president of the Arts Council/Silicon Valley and served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Board of the Montalvo Center for the Arts (1999-2005) in Saratoga and on the Aesthetics Advisory Committee for the Public Art Program of the San Jose Arts Commission (2000-05),at the time the largest public art program in the country. In 2003, he was selected to be a Fellow of the American Leadership Forum/Silicon Valley and participated actively in City sponsored arts planning for the City of San Jose. Milnes is a 2003 recipient of the CSU Bautzer Award for University Advancement. In 2007, the Texas/Oklahoma Chapter of the International Interior Design Association honored him for his work in enhancing design education and professions. That year, he was selected to serve on the KERA-FM Public Broadcasting Community Advisory Board, as Vice Chair in 2009-2011 and Chair 2011-13. He served for five years on the Board of Directors of the Business Council for the Arts, a North Texas organization. In Asheville, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Center for Craft, the Steering Committee of the Community Forum for Blue Ridge Public Radio, and is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Karen and Robert Milnes support scholarships at the University of North Texas and the Penland School of Crafts as well as programming at the Black Mountain College Museum+Art Center and other cultural and social service organizations in Asheville.