Faculty Appointments of Christopher Coppola
and Nicole Archer

Faculty Appointments of Christopher Coppola
and Nicole Archer

San Francisco Art Institute

Christopher Coppola photographed by J. Blue Swan; Nicole Archer photographed by John Lee.
July 18, 2013
Faculty Appointments of Christopher Coppola and Nicole Archer

San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133


The San Francisco Art Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of two new faculty members following nationwide searches: Christopher Coppola as head of the Film program, and Nicole Archer as Assistant Professor in History and Theory of Contemporary Art. These are the first two of at least ten tenure-track faculty searches SFAI will conduct over five years. The appointments are effective July 1, 2013.

Christopher Coppola earned his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1987, where he studied under legendary independent filmmaker George Kuchar. Over his 26-year career, Coppola has made eight feature films and produced and directed television shows for the likes of Fox, Nickelodeon, and Disney with his company Christopher R. Coppola Enterprises, along with developing content for alternative distribution and interactive platforms. Known in the film industry as a digital pioneer, Coppola is the founder of the nonprofit organization Project Accessible Hollywood, which brings digital empowerment to underserved communities and individuals worldwide through traveling new media festivals. In April 2013, he was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to the California Arts Council, whose mission is to advance California through the arts and creativity.

Said SFAI President Charles Desmarais, “Christopher is a force of nature—a tireless advocate for the artistic, technological, and social potentials of filmmaking. I know that he will provide strong leadership to build on the legacy of SFAI’s film program as a center of experimentation and innovation.”

Added Coppola, “I’m honored that I’ve been chosen to lead the San Francisco Art Institute film program. SFAI is my alma mater and the experimental atmosphere there allowed me to discover my own artistic vision and style. I’ve been a maverick in the film business for 26 years now and look forward to sharing my knowledge with my students.”

As an educator, Coppola has been an adjunct professor since 2008 at Madonna University (Michigan) in the Department of Broadcast Cinema Art, where he consulted on the building of a new state-of-the-art soundstage and film production studio. He has also lectured at universities including the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nicole Archer researches contemporary art and material culture, with emphases in modern textile and garment histories, critical and psychoanalytic theory, corporeal feminism, and performance studies. She earned her PhD in History of Consciousness with a declared emphasis in Visual Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her dissertation, A Looming Possibility: Towards a Theory of the Textile, considers how critical understandings and uses of textiles can challenge and extend poststructuralist theories of the text. She also earned an MA in Cultural History from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Archer’s work has appeared in Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture and Working for Justice: The L.A. Model for Organizing and Advocacy. Dr. Archer has been a Visiting Faculty member at the San Francisco Art Institute since 2009, and has also served as Chair of the History and Theory of Contemporary Art program.

Said SFAI President Charles Desmarais, “Following an extensive search process, we were delighted—but not surprised—to confirm that we had an unparalleled candidate already at SFAI. Nicole truly embodies the SFAI spirit, combining sophisticated scholarship, social and political awareness, and a deep commitment to teaching. Everyone who meets Nicole is taken with her intelligence, energy, humor, and fresh approach to the study of contemporary art history. We’re thrilled that she will enter the next phase of her career here at SFAI.”

Added Archer, “I couldn’t be more excited about being at the San Francisco Art Institute, a place where art history is made in the present. All at SFAI—faculty, staff, and students—are committed to promoting the importance of arts discourse and practice, which is particularly gratifying at a time when global austerity measures are telling us that this kind of knowledge is expendable.”

About SFAI
Founded in 1871 by artists, writers, and community leaders who possessed a cultural vision for the West, the San Francisco Art Institute has long been a locus for artists and thinkers. Committed to educating artists who will shape the future of art, culture, and society, SFAI fosters creativity and critical thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary environment. A small school with global impact, SFAI’s notable faculty and alumni include Richard Diebenkorn, Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Enrique Chagoya, Kathryn Bigelow, Peter Pau, Paul Kos, George Kuchar, Catherine Opie, Lance Acord, Barry McGee, and Kehinde Wiley.

SFAI’s innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum is informed by a strong tradition of rigorous studio work and research in all the visual arts. Balanced with that tradition is an equally strong emphasis in critical thinking, openness to ideas, support for individual perspective, and the teaching of artistic and cultural traditions beyond the Western model. SFAI offers BFA and BA degrees, MFA (academic year and summer options) and MA degrees, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, a dual MFA/MA degree, and a range of continuing education and public programs. SFAI enrolls more than 650 students in the degree program, and welcomes some 30,000 people annually for dozens of free lectures and exhibitions.

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July 18, 2013

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