Tina Yapelli

Tina Yapelli Headshot

Director and Senior Curator



Primary Email: [email protected]


Primary Phone: 619-594-6511


Art North - 505


Professor Tina Yapelli currently serves as director of the School of Art and Design. In 2021–2022, she served as graduate advisor for the School’s Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Studio Art degree programs in addition to her teaching assignments.

Professor Yapelli joined SDSU in 1985 as director of the University Art Gallery. She held that position through 2012, when she became director of the SDSU Downtown Gallery in 2013; she later transitioned to Senior Curator for the School’s Gallery Program in mid-2017. In these roles she has originated 69 exhibitions of contemporary art by regional, national, and international artists. Several of the exhibitions were co-organized in cooperation with other galleries and museums, at which they also were presented. She has organized a variety of educational programs for the University and off-campus communities, including symposia, lecture series, gallery talks, and visiting artists’ residencies. 

From 1992 to 1994, during a leave of absence from San Diego State University, Professor Yapelli worked as curator of exhibitions at the Madison Art Center in Madison, Wisconsin. There she originated an additional ten exhibitions. She has appeared on television and radio programs to speak about visual art, and has been a guest speaker, curatorial and exhibition design consultant, and exhibition juror at several California art institutions. An advocate for public art, Professor Yapelli has served on numerous public art selection committees in Wisconsin and California. Her writing on contemporary art has appeared in journals in the United States, and in a book published by Telos Art Publishing in England.

In addition to her extensive curatorial practice, Professor Yapelli teaches courses in Contemporary Issues, Pedagogy of Art and Design, Introduction to Art, and Gallery Exhibition Design. She focuses on creating a strong relationship between her course offerings and exhibition programming, and enjoys teaching students at all levels and from a variety of academic majors.

Along with loving visual art, which has been her passion since the age of four, she is an avid mountain biker, hiker, and backpacker with an interest in the flora, fauna, and celestial conditions she observes along the trails.