Johnny Coleman

  • Professor of Studio Art and Africana Studies

Areas of Study


  • BFA, Otis College of Art and Design, 1989
  • MA, University of California San Diego, 1992


Johnny Coleman is a sculptor/installation artist and associate professor of studio art and Africana studies. He is from Southern California, and received his BFA from the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design, and his MFA from the University of California at San Diego.

He has created sound installations for MOCA Cleveland, William Cannon Art Center (Carlsbad, CA), Akron Museum of Art, Hallwalls Gallery (Buffalo, NY), SPACES Gallery (Cleveland), inSITE 94 (San Diego), William King Art Center (Abington, VA), Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Centro Cultural (San Diego), Randolph Street (Chicago), California Center for the Arts, and David Zapf Gallery (San Diego).

Additionally, he has performed on stage at BAM, Majestic Theater: Next Wave Festival 96, and his work is included in the permanent collection of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, the California Center for the Arts, and in numerous private collections.

He is one of the six Cleveland-based artists and six international artists selected to participate in an artist-in-residency program at the Madison as part of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art: An American City, a global art exhibition based in Northeast Ohio. The exhibit was featured July 14 through September 30, 2018.


Symposium to Explore Johnny Coleman’s Installation at Fort Wayne Museum of Art

January 29, 2014

On February 22, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art will host a symposium, Underground No More, that will explore Professor of Art and African American Studies Johnny Coleman’s installation, Flight: Requiem for Lee Howard Dobbins. The 4-year-old Dobbins died in 1853 in Oberlin, where he had arrived with his adopted mother after fleeing slavery in Kentucky.Composed of six tons of Ohio River rock and West African-inspired seats made of recovered oak, hickory, maple, and rusted tin, Flight also includes an audio recording of the woven voices of African American women from Oberlin speaking to the child and the sound of the first moment of the new day recorded just before midnight on Lake Erie’s Kelley’s Island. “The space is intended to be a place of rest,” says Coleman, “one within which this boy who died alone among strangers is claimed, his beauty acknowledged.”


Virtual Faculty Art Exhibition

April 27, 2020

Department of Art faculty periodically share their artwork in a faculty exhibition held in Richard D. Baron ’64 Art Gallery during the academic year. This time, we invite you to step inside a virtual exhibition and experience the works of some of our talented professors.

This Week in Photos: February 18

February 19, 2020

An acclaimed tenor and some of the conservatory’s most outstanding students perform in Warner Concert Hall; tributes to author Toni Morrison permeate the Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater; a comfortable seat inside a large orange ball in Mudd Center; alumni in a life-changing program return to campus; and a view of campus from Baldwin Cottage are featured in this week’s photo series.