Bonnie Pitman

Distinguished Scholar in Residence for The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History
Director Art-Brain Innovations, Center for BrainHealth
Distinguished Scholar in Residence for The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC)

Bonnie Pitman joined The University of Texas at Dallas as Distinguished Scholar in Residence in 2012 to research and develop partnerships between UT Dallas and cultural and health-related institutions. She serves in the Office of the Provost, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, The Center for BrainHealth, and The School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC).

The former Director of The Dallas Museum of Art, she is a national leader in education and the public engagement of art. Pitman has been a curator, educator, and administrator at the University of California’s Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives, Seattle Art Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

Pitman’s work with The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History focuses on Art and Medicine and The Power of Observation™. Pitman teaches a seminar for the UT Dallas Honors College in Observation using the framework she has developed, The Power of Observation™, that introduces neuroscience of seeing and develops new skills for seeking and processing information to make new connections and to retain ideas and observations. She also teaches a UT Southwestern Medical School class that develops close observation of works of art to enhance the diagnostic skills needed for medical practice.

In 2016, she organized a national convening of Art Museums and Medical Schools at The Museum of Modern Art, NYC and launched a website with resources for the art and medical fields through the O'Donnell Institute.

Recently published articles in The Journal of American Medicine, The New York Times, San Antonio Medicine, and Dallas Morning News highlight her work.

As Director of Art-Brain Innovations at the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth, Pitman expands her research and teaching of the art of observation, meditation, and compassion. Her Power of Observation™ initiative connects neurological research with the experience and process of seeing, looking, and observing. Through her daily practice to "Do Something New", she invites the exploration and celebration of making an ordinary day extraordinary while dealing with chronic illness.

Publications include the Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, 2012 and Ignite the Power of Art: Advancing Visitor Engagement in Museum, 2010. In addition to numerous articles, she was the editor of Presence of Mind: Museums and the Spirit of Learning and Excellence and Equity: Education and Public Dimension of Museums, the latter a signature work that altered the perceived role of museums in society.

She is a member of the Advisory Board for the SMU National Center for Arts Research in the Meadows School for the Arts and Cox Business School and on the Board of the Baylor Health Care Foundation in Dallas, TX.


Tulane University - 1972

Sweet Briar College – Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, 1968

News and Published Articles

Guiding Force Behind DMA Joins Faculty in Arts and Humanities

O'Donnell Art History Institute Launches New Online Resource

Pharma Art - Abstract Medication in the Work of Beverly Fishman, Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 319, Number 4 (Jan 2018): 326-328.

The Art of Examination: Medical School and Art Museum Partnerships, San Antonio Medicine (July 2017).

How an Aesthete’s Eye Can Help a Doctor’s Hand, New York Times (October 30, 2016).


Bonnie Pitman
Distinguished Scholar in Residence
Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, and
Director of Art-Brain Innovations,
Center for BrainHealth
[email protected]
972-883-2475 (office)
ATC 2.706