John M. Sullivan was appointed President of the Art Academy of Cincinnati in February of 2012. He is a graphic designer, painter, and printmaker, and has served as a visual arts educator for almost thirty years, including over ten years in higher education administration.
A native of Louisiana, Sullivan attended Northwestern State University, where he earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising Design, taking a mid-program break to serve during the Vietnam War. After a number of years in professional practice, including work for several advertising agencies and commercial printers and an appointment as publications manager at a major oil and gas development company, he attended Louisiana Tech University, where he earned the Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design while working in the advertising and public relations department of the major telecommunications firm that has now become CenturyLink.
Answering the call to teach, Sullivan accepted an appointment in 1987 to teach graphic design at Arkansas Tech University. In his fifteen years at this post, Sullivan prepared many designers for their professional practice, in Northwest Arkansas and throughout the world. He continued his own practice, producing publications for Winrock and other entities. Artwork produced during this time has been shown regionally and nationally in solo, juried, and invitational exhibitions, and his work is represented in several public and private collections. His academic awards include several research and travel grants, a fellowship to attend the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center, and a fellowship to participate in the AIR/NCES Database Institute. Sullivan served as director for several visual arts summer camps at Tech, and served as interim coordinator of the Department of Art during a leadership change.
While teaching at Tech, Sullivan attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the Higher Education Administration doctoral program in preparation for administrative duties, and in 2003, he left Arkansas Tech to become Chair of the Department of Art at Jackson State University. While at JSU, Sullivan was promoted to Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts.
In 2006, Sullivan was appointed Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Watkins College of Art and Design in Nashville. While serving in this post, Sullivan led the institution in achieving initial regional accreditation with SACS-COC, a major accomplishment for the school.
Sullivan brings to the Art Academy a deep understanding of the college’s mission of educating artists and designers, coupled with a thorough sense of what it takes for graduates to be prepared for professional practice in the visual arts. His years in the classroom and studio, and the subsequent years at an administrator’s desk have prepared him for the challenge of capitalizing on the many opportunities for the AAC to build curriculum, to nurture community partnerships, and to empower institutional innovation.