Leah Ollman ’83

Writer, editor, and educator

Leah Ollman ’83

“While I treasured my time at Scripps, the impact of my experience there has grown even greater during the 20 years since my graduation. The qualities that made the college so nourishing are those I aspire to in every other arena of my life, from work to family: a healthy balance of structure and freedom; an environment of physical beauty; a laboratory-like sense of experimentation; an atmosphere scaled in every way to the human; a sense of grace; and a persistent faith in growth and change.

After graduating from Scripps in 1983 with a joint major in Art History and Philosophy, I spent the summer as an intern in the education department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. During a breather year between college and graduate school, I interned at the newly opened Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, where I launched and edited a quarterly newsletter for members that won awards from both the Art Museum Association of America and the American Association of Museums.

In 1986, I received my M.A. degree in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and returned to San Diego, where I started freelance writing for ArtNews and Artweek, and teaching the history of photography at a community college. I also expanded upon research done while at NYU to curate the exhibition, “Camera as Weapon: Worker Photography Between the Wars.” The show travelled to several cities in the U.S., and was accompanied by a catalogue.I began writing a weekly visual arts column for the San Diego County edition of the Los Angeles Times in 1987. The column of commentary and criticism continued until the San Diego edition folded in 1992. Since then, I have been writing reviews and features regularly for the full run of the Times. In 1997, I became a corresponding editor for Art in America, contributing feature articles and reviews. I have contributed to a variety of other publications as well, written a dozen catalogue essays, and the books, The Photographs of John Brill (2003) and William Kentridge: Weighing…and Wanting (2001).”