Florence Gaskins Harper's objective in creating this endowed faculty chair upon her death was to promote the teaching of art in a way that provides substantial benefits to MICA and opportunities to the College's students that otherwise may be difficult or impossible to achieve in the absence of such a faculty chair. An artist and educator, Harper studied art education at MICA, graduating with honors in 1934. After earning her degree, she joined the MICA faculty, supervising practice teachers in the art education department and occasionally teaching courses for the Continuing Studies program. After spending 10 years at MICA, she went on to teach art in the Baltimore City school system, eventually serving as its first Supervisor of Art. Florence Gaskins Harper was not only a prominent member of the Baltimore art community, she also exhibited in several national and regional juried shows. Her paintings were featured in museums across the country including the Peale Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Los Angeles Municipal Museum, Miami Museum of Modern Art, Purdue University Art Gallery, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She also enjoyed the distinction of having her art displayed at the Smithsonian alongside the work of renowned artist and Baltimore native Herman Maril.
Karen Lee Carroll, Ed.D. is the first to hold this appointment. Dr. Carroll shares a somewhat similar professional history with Florence Gaskins Harper in that they both have taught in higher education and public schools, served as supervisors of city public school arts programs and continued to practice as artists while teaching. Carroll joined the faculty at MICA in 1987 and in 2004 was named Dean of the Center of Art Education.