National Endowment for the Arts Announces New Director of Arts Education
August 2, 2005
The National Endowment for the Arts announced today it is appointing educator Dr. Sarah Bainter Cunningham as the agency's Director of Arts Education. In this position, Dr. Cunningham is responsible for providing national leadership in the arts education field, selecting panelists and managing the review panel process, and recommending grant programs and leadership initiatives. She will assume her new responsibilities on September 6, 2005.
Since March 2004, Sarah Bainter Cunningham, 38, has been director of the Education Assessment and Charter Accreditation Program at the American Academy for Liberal Education. The academy supports rigorous liberal arts education in K-12 schools as well as universities in the United States and abroad. Cunningham supervises a program to assess and accredit liberal arts-oriented charter schools, which is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
From March 1999 to February 2004, Cunningham was the first academic dean and dean of students at the Oxbow School, a visual arts high school in Napa, California. She helped found the school, designing curriculum that integrated the visual arts with academic courses. These included courses in English composition and literature team-taught with instructors in history, science, painting, and photography. For example, an English seminar titled “Dialogues in Image and Writing” incorporated a photography instructor. With Oxbow, she also served as an administrator managing professional development, admissions, student life, and curriculum decisions.
National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia said, "Sarah Bainter Cunningham's experience in evaluation, accreditation, and course development of arts and humanities education will be of great value to the agency as we continue to develop model arts education programs. Her teaching and administrative work bring another dimension to the expertise she can offer the NEA and the field."
Cunningham has held teaching positions at a variety of institutions including assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine (August 1997 – August 1998); Burke Teaching Fellow in Aesthetics at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee (January – May 1997), and philosophy instructor at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee (September 1995 – May 1997).
Her publications include articles in the National Charter School Clearinghouse Newsletter and book reviews in the journal Consciousness, Literature and the Arts and the Newsletter of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. She has given conference presentations on pedagogy at the Coalition for Essential Schools Fall Forum, the North American Conference on the Environment and Community, the International Association for Experiential Education, and state charter school conferences.
Cunningham received her bachelor's degree in philosophy at Kenyon College and her masters and doctoral degrees in philosophy at Vanderbilt University.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency