James Baker

James Baker

Former Executive Director | Pilchuck Glass School

James Baker is a photographer, writer, and educator. In 1975, he received a graduate degree in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and taught in colleges at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the arts and humanities (1975-1986).

For twenty years, he worked at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, in Snowmass Village, CO first serving as a program director (1986-1995) and then later as Executive Director (1995-2006). Subsequently, he served as President of the Maine College of Art (2006-2010) and as Executive Director of Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, WA (2010-2018).

During his 43-year career as an educator and administrator, Baker curated nationally touring exhibitions and held symposia on a variety of topics including public art, the impact of society on the western landscape, and the roles of technology in the visual arts. From 1995-2006, he hosted a weekly radio interview program on Central Colorado’s NPR station KAJX with over 500 renowned visual artists, writers, poets, documentary filmmakers and cinematographers. He has written for national publications about visual artists and served as a contributing editor for Aspen Magazine writing profiles on artists, art collectors and philanthropists who support the arts.

Nationally, he has served on the boards of the Society for Photographic Education, the Alliance of Artists Communities and the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. He continues to volunteer as a consultant for nonprofit artist communities and serve as a panel moderator for conferences and symposia.

In 1978, Baker first met Christo and Jeanne-Claude at a film screening of the documentary Running Fence about the construction of their 24-mile fabric-paneled fence in northern California. In 1997, with Christo and Jeanne-Claude, he attended the 25th anniversary of Valley Curtain at a community gathering in Rifle, CO and became a public advocate for their planned and ultimately uncompleted project “Over the River” to suspend fabric panels over portions of the Arkansas River near Salida, CO. This past January, Baker presented a lecture on these two Colorado projects at the Denver Art Museum.