Dr. Sylvia Rhor is associate professor of Art History at Carlow University, where she also serves as co-director of the University's Honors Program and faculty advisor to the Rose Marie Beard Honors Scholars. Dr. Rhor received an MA and PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in Art History and Studio Art from New York University, where she was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Minority Scholar. She regularly teaches global art history surveys and upper-level courses on feminism and art history, American art and culture, and the history of public art and public murals in the United States. Since 2011, too, she has led and developed several study abroad experiences, including the Summer Irish Studies Program in Sligo, Ireland and an upcoming museum-based program in London and Paris, which focuses on the issues of collecting, restitution and cultural heritage.

Her doctoral thesis focuses on the historic mural collection in Chicago's public schools, a topic she discovered while directing Chicago: The City in Art, a grant-driven project at The Art Institute of Chicago. Dr. Rhor has published in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Museum Studies, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and has contributed essays on mural painting to The Decorated School: Essays on Visual Culture of Schooling (Black Dog, 2013), Art for the People: the Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive- and WPA-era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904-1943 (Chronicle, 2002), and the forthcoming A Companion to Public Art (Blackwell, 2014). She has presented her research nationally and internationally, including speaking engagements at the annual conference of the College Art Association (CAA), meetings of the Decorated School Network in Canada and the United Kingdom, and the United Nations in New York. Dr. Rhor is currently researching Pittsburgh’s historic murals and public murals in university settings.

Throughout her career, Dr. Rhor has maintained a dual commitment to academic research and museum work. She has presented public lectures, directed docent training workshops, and created teacher resources for museums in Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh. She served on the curatorial team for To Inspire and to Instruct: The Art Collection of Chicago Public Schools at The Art Institute of Chicago and Americanisms: Shaping Art and Culture in the 1950s at The Andy Warhol Museum. Dr. Rhor also co-curated two exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum: Too Hot to Handle: Creating Controversy Through Political Cartoons and Drawn to the Summit: A G-20 Exhibition of International Political Cartoons. In 2010, Dr. Rhor also curated Civil Rights Superheroes: Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story (1958) for the ToonSeum.

Dr. Rhor has also served on the Board of Directors of Gateway to the Arts and on the advisory boards of Girls as Grantmakers of the Women and Girls Foundation of Western Pennsylvania, The Sprout Fund's Public Art Program, and The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka. Since 2009, Dr, Rhor has served on the City of Pittsburgh’s Art Commission. 

Research Interests

Dr. Rhor's research interests include:

  • Modern Art in Europe and the Americas
  • 20th century Mural Painting in the Americas
  • Museum Studies
  • Feminism and Art History