Erin Elman was born in Brooklyn, NY. She was raised by two remarkable New York City public school teachers who though not artists, were committed to exposing their daughters to all of the great art and culture of New York City. Elman spent her Saturdays during high school attending all the art schools in New York City, and spent the summer of her junior year at RISD's pre-college program where she decided to dedicate herself to a life in the arts and in higher education.
She studied painting and printmaking (mostly intaglio) with a concentration in Art History at Carnegie Mellon University, where she received a BFA in Art. Elman also studied abroad at Temple University in Rome where she fell in love with Etruscans, ruins, and all things Italian. She later went on to receive an MA in Art Education and an MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking, both from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Erin Elman is the dean of Graduate & Professional Studies at the University of the Arts. Previously, she served as the interim dean for the School of Art (2020 - 2022), founding dean for the School of Critical & Professional Studies (2018 to 2020), and the founding dean of the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of the Arts (2008 to 2018). Elman has taught studio art courses and seminars to various populations.
She has artwork in numerous public and private collections, including the Tate London. Elman lives in a stone cottage in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia with her husband Steph who is an architect and their son Izzy who is a musician and a writer who attends Bennington College.