Sheila Levrant de Bretteville is a graphic designer, artist and educator whose work reflects her belief in the importance of feminist principles, user participation in graphic design, and diverse local community issues. In 1990 she became the director of the Yale University Graduate Program in Graphic Design and the first woman to receive tenure at the Yale University School of Art.
De Bretteville studied art history at Barnard College, and chose graphic design at Yale University School of Art, thinking that it would satisfy her thirst to connect with people in regular situations, and her love of what is thoughtfully made.
In 1971 she founded the first design program for women at the California Institute of the Arts, and two years later co-founded both “The Woman’s Building,” a public center for female culture, and its Women’s Graphic Center in Los Angeles. In 1981 she initiated the communication design program at the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design.
De Bretteville’s beliefs about community have crystallized in the creation of public art works embedded within city neighborhoods on both coasts. Through her deep research into the neighborhoods where her works are sited, her recording of residents’ voices, and her respect for the everyday life and memories of a community, de Bretteville is able to produce projects that are significant to all of their local populations.