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Merijn van der Heijden

Picture of Merijn in a dark blue blazer

Merijn van der Heijden

Director, Urban Arts Space and Hopkins Hall Gallery


(614) 292-5184


  • BFA in Art, Akademie voor Beeldende Vorming
  • MFA in Art, The Ohio State University

Since becoming Director of Urban Arts Space in 2017, Merijn has provided leadership and strategic management, supporting and promoting the academic mission, arts curricula and research, cultural leadership, and artistic and intellectual enrichment of Urban Arts Space (UAS). Merijn oversees UAS’s ongoing development as an academic arts resource that is integrally connected to teaching, learning, and research, and central to the university’s campus and community engagement efforts.

Within this role, Merijn appreciates keeping her hands in artistic practice while also helping shape and contribute to student success by providing hands-on arts-related experiences for them. She says that nothing is more satisfying than watching students grow, not only in their art, research, and professional/administrative experience but also in the skills that will help them navigate life. Merijn considers her work with her students to be one of her deepest passions. It is her privilege, she says, to be part of their path at a point where it is possible to dream big, to take risks and, at times, to fumble through what feels like an impossible challenge — to learn something along the way and thrive.

Merijn is interested in a wide range of art and related manifestations. She believes that art can be a facilitation mechanism for contributing knowledge and understanding, and for sparking important conversations. Furthermore, arts organizations have a responsibility to reach out, engage people and build those conversations — to help people see things in new ways.

In her free time, Merijn enjoys spending time outside, including biking and hiking in the forest. She also likes to read, write, and spend time with her family. Merijn recommends taking a regular pause, a moment that is dedicated to deep listening and taking in/taking stock.