The Art Academy of Cincinnati is pleased to announce Linnea Gartin as the Director of the Office of Engagement (formerly known as Community Education). Gartin brings her expertise in public art planning, creative placekeeping, and nonprofit program management to the role.

She is devoted to ethical community practice, youth employment, art education, industry safety, and cross-sector collaboration. In addition to her current role, she is an Adjunct Professor at Art Academy, teaching courses in social practice. We sat down with Gartin to talk about their practice and their vision for the future.
Q&A with Linnea Gartin

Q: How long have you been working in the Arts and what different roles have you had?
I have worked in the Arts for eight consecutive years. I started my career in Arts Administration while completing my undergraduate studies in Fargo, North Dakota. I worked as a Visitor Services Associate and Intern for the Curatorial and Collections departments at the Plains Art Museum. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in 2014, I moved to Cincinnati and began working at ArtWorks as a Talent Coordinator.

After completing my Master’s degree in 2018, I was promoted to Director of Programming. The following year, I became the Public Art Manager. This was also when I began teaching as an adjunct at AAC. After some organizational restructure at ArtWorks in 2019, the focus of my role shifted to support my passion and expertise, and I was named Director of Community Impact. I stayed in that role until recently, accepting the job at AAC as Director of the Office of Engagement.

Q: Do you have a favorite project/work?
I am most proud of my public art collaborations in Avondale. Beginning in 2017, after the demolition and reconstruction of the Avondale Town Center (which had one of ArtWorks original neighborhood murals), the community strongly advocated for more public art in the neighborhood.

I was assigned to work on murals for the new Avondale Town Center and worked closely with neighborhood leadership to bring the community’s vision of public art for Avondale to life. Year after year, I led mural projects in Avondale with the Community Council and Avondale Development Corporation to enliven the neighborhood with art that promoted cultural preservation, safety, and wellness.

In 2020, I produced a light-based sculpture project behind the Hirsch Recreation Center called Switch on Avondale. This project was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and was a both a literal and figurative beacon of light in my life during such a challenging year.

Q: You first came to the AAC as an adjunct professor teaching Social Practice. How do you plan to bring what you taught in the classroom to your new role?
In the Office of Engagement, I get to direct projects and programs that make the guiding values of Social Practice Art taught in my classes actionable. Walk the walk and put all my lessons into practice with my team and our students.

Q: Why the Art Academy of Cincinnati?
The Art Academy of Cincinnati is vital for our region. As a lover of school and learning, I am honored to contribute to an organization that is devoted to nurturing and empowering generations of creatives. The world needs artists!

Q: What’s your vision for the department?
Through two divisions, Community Education and Social Impact, the Office of Engagement is uniquely positioned to deliver ongoing programs that require social consciousness, experiential engagement, and harnessing creativity of, by, and for artists in the institution as well as in community at large.

Q: How do you think your department will have an impact on the community?
 I know the Office of Engagement will have impact because our team believes in the power of art as an essential tool for making a difference in the world. We will consistently show up and step up to take part in partnerships that will strengthen our students, neighborhood, and region through accessible art and education.

Q: What is one thing you want the creative community to know about you?
As an interdisciplinary art worker, I view all my labor as art. My practice is centered around participation, education, DIY, and disco.

“As Director of the Office of Engagement, my door is wide open for connection and collaboration.” said Gartin.

A photograph of Linnea Gartin

Linnea Gartin (she/her) is from Southern Minnesota where she first formed values of loyalty, observation, and independence. Growing up on a vast prairie, her roots encouraged exploration and creativity.

Gartin studied Art History at Minnesota State University Moorhead. There she expanded her understanding of the role of art and artists in society. Her undergraduate thesis work, titled Curating As An Artistic Practice, argued the responsibilities of art administrators require as much creative vision and technique as the art and artists they support.

She completed her graduate studies at the University of Indianapolis in Social Practice Art. She honed in on her core beliefs of artistic engagement at a human-scale and further investigated dialogue as an artform through the program. These concepts inspired her podcast project, Arranged Encounters.