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VCU educator named VAEA 2016–17 Art Educator of the Year

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The Virginia Art Education Association has named Virginia Commonwealth University alumna and staff member Ginna Cullen as its 2016–17 Art Educator of the Year. The award, which recognizes an outstanding art educator in Virginia, was recently presented at VAEA’s annual conference in Norfolk, Virginia. 

Cullen was nominated by Linda Conti, president of the VAEA and art department chair at the Hill School in Middleburg, Virginia. Conti says of Cullen, “She is a quiet warrior for art education, working constantly in the trenches on her own work, guiding others, and setting a gold standard for how to teach art and art education to teachers, who then pass this knowledge on to their students.”

Cullen, a retired art teacher with Louisa County, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mary Washington University and a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies from VCU. She currently serves as the Central Virginia coordinator for the M.I.S. in Interdisciplinary Art Program with the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education, where she supervises student teachers and teaches a book arts class for art professional development to K-12 teachers. Michael Gettings, art specialist with Chesterfield County Public Schools, says her class is “legendary” for its depth and creativity.

Cullen has dedicated more than 50 years of service to the art education field, participating in hundreds of professional development activities, courses and workshops to contribute to her own growth as an artist and teacher, and generously sharing her talents with others, while advocating for art education programming in schools. 

Cullen is “a dedicated art educator, who exemplifies the mission of the Virginia Art Education Association by supporting, promoting and advancing visual arts education through professional development, leadership, research and service,” said Katherine Schwartz, Ph.D., director of the School of Art, Design and Art History at James Madison University.

Schwartz also notes that Cullen’s creative work serves as inspiration for thousands of students, and that “she demonstrates how to maintain a delicate balance between her time as an artist and her time as an art teacher.” 

Cullen is a longtime member of the VAEA and has provided leadership through conference planning, collegial membership and through her service as the president of the Prince William County Art Education Association. She has been recognized for organizing and displaying the first art teacher exhibition in Prince William County. Cullen has served on the board for the Louisa Downtown Development Corporation, served as director of the Louisa Arts Center Gallery and treasurer of the Louisa County Education Association, and provided leadership to develop the annual Louisa County Public School Arts Festival. Cullen is also an accomplished artist with an impressive exhibition record, from solo shows featuring her creative book arts, painting and photography to traveling exhibitions, gallery shows and an invitational exhibition in Washington, D.C. Her presentations for the National Art Education Association have taken her to Boston, Chicago and New York. 

Email Ginna Cullen at ginnacullen@gmail.com or visit ocpe.vcu.edu to learn more about continuing and professional education opportunities at VCU.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.