Bill Gilbert is Emeritus Distinguished Professor and Lannan Endowed Chair, University of New Mexico, where he co-founded the Art & Ecology area and created the Land Arts of the American West program with support from Lannan Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Gilbert developed the Land Arts of the American West field program and the Land Arts Mobile Research Center to focus on art generated in response to the environments and communities of the southwest. He served as Director of LAAW and LAMRC from 2000-2016. The Art and Ecology area in the Department of Art and Art History has built an interdisciplinary curriculum and a Master of Fine Arts focused on the Arts role in contemporary Ecological thought and practice.
From 1990-2000 Gilbert served as head of Ceramics at UNM. His involvement in developing the curriculum included work with Indigenous artists from Acoma Pueblo and Pastaza, Ecuador and Mestizo artists from Juan Mata Ortiz, Mexico. He has curated numerous exhibitions and written extensively on the topic of Indigenous ceramics practices in the Americas.
Gilbert is author of two books, Land Arts of the American West and Arts Programming for the Anthropocene: art in community and environment, both of which address the need to update the curriculum in tertiary level art education to prepare students to contribute to the changing world they enter upon graduation.
He previously directed Portrait In Place, 2013-2016, a project generated at Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, WY and presented at Ucross, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science and Lannan Foundation. The interdisciplinary team assembled at Ucross included artists from Land Arts of the American West and scientists from Yale University and the University of Wyoming.