Award-winning Cartoonist and Historian Joel Christian Gill named Inaugural Chair of BU’s MFA in Visual Narrative
Boston University College of Fine Arts announces the appointment of Joel Christian Gill (CFA’04) as the Inaugural Chair of BU’s all-new Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Narrative and Associate Professor in the CFA School of Visual Arts.
Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA) is thrilled to announce the appointment of acclaimed cartoonist, author, and historian Joel Christian Gill (CFA’04) as the Inaugural Chair of BU’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Narrative and Associate Professor in the CFA School of Visual Arts (SVA). Both appointments are effective starting July 1, 2022. Gill was instrumental in planning the new MFA in Visual Narrative degree, alongside SVA Director Dana Clancy, CFA Dean Harvey Young, and SVA faculty, including CFA lecturer and cartoonist Paul Karasik.
Gill brings a wealth of knowledge and storytelling experience to CFA. A cartoonist and historian, Gill speaks nationally on the importance of sharing stories. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence, cited as one of the best graphic novels of 2020 by The New York Times and for which he was awarded the 2021 Cartoonist Studio Prize. He wrote the words and drew the pictures for Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield’s First Ride and the award-winning graphic novel series Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, as well as 3 volumes of Tales of The Talented Tenth, which tell the stories of Bass Reeves, Bessie Stringfield and Robert Smalls.
Gill is currently at work on the graphic novel of Ibram Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, forthcoming from Ten Speed Press in 2023, and CNN’s Don Lemon’s YA Graphic Memoir Fitting In from Penguin Random House in 2024. Gill has dedicated his life to creating stories and helping others create stories to build connections with readers through empathy, compassion, and, ultimately, humanity. He received his MFA from Boston University and his BA from Roanoke College.
In 2020, Gill was featured in CFA magazine alongside painter Charles Suggs (CFA’20) who was named one of “five outstanding art-school grads of 2020” by The Boston Globe. In the feature, the two artists discuss using their work to tell lesser-known stories from Black history.
Join us in welcoming Gill back to BU (as a professor and chair this time)! Catch all his updates on Instagram, Tik Tok @joelchristiangill, and on Twitter @jcg007.
More on BU’s MFA Visual Narrative Degree
- Visual Narrative Program of Study and Facilities
- BU Today feature: Two Ways of Exploring Visual Narrative
Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts
Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts prepares students to think seriously, to see critically, to make intensely, and to act with creative agency in the contemporary world. The School of Visual Arts merges the intensive studio education of an art school with the opportunities of a large urban university, and is committed to educating the eye, hand, and mind of the artist. With rigorous graduate and undergraduate fine art programs that are rooted in studio practice, CFA School of Visual Arts provides highly motivated students with programs in the bedrock disciplines of the fine arts coupled with a vast array of electives and liberal arts opportunities.