Our President

Welcome to the Art Academy of Cincinnati. We have a great story to tell, and much of it is included in the pages and links that you will find here. So, whether you are visiting as a prospective student or in some other context, I am confident that you will find the information you seek. We have made every effort to create a website that is both user-friendly and informative, but if you experience difficulty locating what you need, or if you would just like to communicate more directly, please do not hesitate to call or write. You will find my contact information below, or you can click here for a full directory of phone numbers and email addresses for my Art Academy colleagues.

The Art Academy is located in downtown Cincinnati, in a historic district called Over-the-Rhine. While the neighborhood is remarkable for its beautiful Italianate architecture, it is bustling with activity as urban renewal moves in. We are proud of the developments that are revitalizing our community, especially since we were among the pioneers in the move back to OTR. It is an affirmation of our institutional vision that so many others have followed our lead. Now, almost ten years after the Art Academy took a huge risk and established its new campus on Jackson Street, we have watched our neighborhood rapidly come back to life as an important cultural and commercial destination within the city. The designers and artists that live and study here often take advantage of the gritty urban aesthetic and the cultural vibrancy of being in OTR.

Within our walls, we've created an extraordinary place to learn about art and design. Whether your interests are in the grand traditions of art making or out on the cutting edge of digital technology, you will find yourself in good company here. The Art Academy is a place where makers, creators, and innovators gather to teach, learn, and share important dialogue about professional practice in the world of art and design. Around the clock and throughout the year, the level of intellectual engagement and artistic curiosity is remarkably high. Together we are doing great things, and we would welcome your participation.

So, please take your time and look around. I'm sure you will find something that interests you. If you would like to come to campus for a visit, just let us know. Finally, please look for an opportunity to join us as we celebrate art and design with our many exhibitions and events. Click here for a current calendar of activities.

Thank you for your interest in the Art Academy of Cincinnati. We hope to see you soon.

John M Sullivan
Art Academy of Cincinnati
[email protected]

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.