Though Dr. Janalee Emmer first started at Brigham Young University when she came here as a student, she has also spent several years in other parts of the country gaining a diversity of experiences. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BYU and later earned her doctorate in art history at Pennsylvania State University. Before returning to BYU, Dr. Emmer also taught at the University of Tennessee, Bucknell University, and Ohio Wesleyan University. She has focused her studies on modern and contemporary art, especially art created by nineteenth-century French artists, women artists, American artists, and Asian artists and architects.
Before coming to the BYU Museum of Art in August of 2014, Dr. Emmer previously shared her talents with three other museums: the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Palmer Museum of Art on Penn State campus where she taught, and the Springville Museum of Art. Before being appointed associate director of the MOA, Dr. Emmer was the MOA’s head of education and a curator. She loves to highlight strong women in her life and in the art she studies and is moved by the efforts of nineteenth-century women artists who had to fight through many difficulties in order to achieve success and renown. Dr. Emmer is an expert at multitasking and tackling new challenges, as things are constantly changing in the work she performs at the MOA.
In her March 2021 devotional, Dr. Emmer shared with her audience the role of art and faith in her life. She said, “In my life, art has often been a way to see the world from a new perspective, a version of climbing inside someone else’s skin. Some artists teach us about experiences that we can’t possibly have on our own.”  She explained that art helps her develop empathy and compassion. Her dedication to bringing art to the BYU community gives them opportunities to experience the same thing.
 Janalee Emmer, “The Transformative Power of Faith and Art,” March 2021.