Benjamín E. Juárez New College of Fine Arts Dean
Conductor, producer, educator has worked internationally| From Commonwealth | By Rich Barlow
Benjamín Juárez’s arts career spans four decades. Photo by Vernon Doucette
Benjamín E. Juárez has led orchestras in venues from Shanghai to the Champs-Élysées. On August 1, he took a new podium as dean of the College of Fine Arts.
Juárez, 59, was most recently director of culture, technology, and development at the Dr. José María Luis Mora Research Institute, which focuses on social sciences, history, and culture, in his native Mexico. He has also directed the Centro Nacional de las Artes, Mexico’s national arts center, running professional schools in music, dance, arts, theater, and film, research centers, the organization’s TV channel, and more than 20 theaters and performing spaces.
Juárez takes over from Walt Meissner (CFA’81), who had been dean ad interim for eight years and is now an associate vice president for operations.
“I come here as a student,” Juárez says, referring to his learning curve at BU. Of course, few students arrive speaking five languages and having been honored as the first Latin American to conduct an orchestra in China (in 1984). The CFA deanship, he says, engages his career-long interest in arts education. “It doesn’t matter if it’s rock or watusi or Mahler. When students become passionate about an arts discipline, they can go out and explore others,” he says.
Among his tasks as dean will be fundraising for continuing CFA renovations. At the Centro Nacional de las Artes from 2007 to 2009, he oversaw 600-plus employees, 1,800 students, and an $8 million annual budget. He signed student and faculty exchange agreements with other art schools in Mexico and the United States and launched joint programs with such places as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He presided over a 30 percent increase in visitors to the center. Juárez earned a bachelor’s degree from Centro Universitario Mexico, a master of fine arts in music from the California Institute of the Arts, and a certificate in business administration from Universidad Anáhuac del Sur.