Director of School of Art, Design and Art History, Professor of Art and Art Education

Contact Info

Ph.D. The University of Arizona
Educational Administration: Dissertation in Art Education

M.S. Florida State University
Art Education with a focus on Cultural Diversity and Acculturation.

B.S. Radford University
Art Education with a focus on painting.

Type A Teaching: Art, K-12
Type B Administrative: Principal

Katherine A. Schwartz is a national award winning art educator and arts education advocate. Her work includes developing community, regional and national partnerships to improve education in the arts. Currently,she directs the JMU Art Education Center, which includes: coordinating graduate and undergraduate programs; teaching art education courses; initiating training and technical assistance projects; forming partnerships with school districts; integrating programs with regional and national initiatives; and grant writing and program development. In addition to her professional art education work, Dr. Schwartz is a marathon runner.

Katherine A. Schwartz has worked as an art educator, administrator, and professor for 34 years. Prior to her work at JMU, Dr. Schwartz taught aesthetics, philosophy, art education, and tests and measurements at the University of Alaska at Kenai Peninsula College. Dr. Schwartz was a presenter and faculty member for the 1988-1996 Getty Institute for Education on the Visual Arts. She directed the Alaska Center for Excellence in Arts Education from 1991-1996 and the Alaska Alliance for the Arts from 1997-2000. Her experience also includes teaching above the Arctic Circle in Selawik, Kivalina, and Noorvik, Alaska. She has taught all grade levels K-12 ART; directed school district comprehensive art programs, and designed standards-based curriculum and program assessments. She also contributed to the development of National standards and assessments for teaching the arts.

Katherine A. Schwartz recently completed three terms on the Virginia Art Education Association Board of Directors, as the chair for Higher Education, Research, and Advocacy. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the National Art Education Association and the Alaska Art Education Association. She provides annual presentations for the VAEA and NAEA conferences.

Katherine A. Schwartz has also served on the leadership committees for the Kennedy Center's Alliance for Arts Education Network, where she developed "Integrate the Arts with Integrity. This national award winning program was dedicated to providing comprehensive literacy in the arts for all students. The institute supported the Kennedy Center's campaign: Creative Ticket for Success. National campaign affiliates include: *National Association of School Administrators,*Association of Performing Arts Presenters, *Education Theatre Association, * Music Educators National Conference, *The NARAS Foundation, *National Art Education Association, *National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies,* National Association of Elementary School Principals, *National Association of Partners in Education,Inc., *National Council of State Supervisors of Music, *National Dance Association,* National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, *The National PTA, *National School Boards Association, *OPERA America, *Southern Arts Federation,*Young Audiences.

Katherine A. Schwartz received the 2005 Art Educator of the Year Award for Higher Education from National Art Education Association, Southeast Region. She received the State Art Educator of the Year Award in Higher Ed from Virginia in 2004, and from Alaska in 1998 and 1994. The web site she helped to create, ArtFul Minds, was a National award winner in the 1999 Think Quest Competition. ArtFul Minds was featured on PBS Teacher Source in October,1999. She also earned the art specialist award from PDK, Kenai Chapter in spring 2000.The summer institute program she developed in 1998 to improve education in the arts was honored by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the area of Imaginative Learning. Dr. Schwartz has received research and program grants from the Getty Center, the Kennedy Center, Alaska Airlines, the University of Alaska Special Projects Fund, The Virginia Commission on the Arts, and The Arts Council of the Valley.

Katherine A. Schwartz is investigating what K-12 students are learning from new art teachers. Her work investigates how children may use images as the basis for language development and reading comprehension. She is also leading a quantitative study with teachers to examine what students are learning from visual journals.

From 1991-1996 Dr. Schwartz directed a long range study for improving education in the arts in Alaska. Her research was support by the Getty Center, and published by Visual Arts Education Research and the National Art Education Association.

Her scholarship and presentations include: The Role the Arts in Learning; Understanding the World through the Eyes of the Artist; Integrating the Arts with Integrity; Understanding Contemporary Art; Teaching Comprehensive Art Education; Preparing New Art Teachers; Art Images and Learning; Focus on Aesthetics; Art, Reading and Comprehensive Literacy; Teaching Art is Teaching Culture; and Creating ArtFul Minds.

Katherine A. Schwartz was the art education scholar for Think Quest Team to develop and revise the national award winning ArtFul Minds website. Designed to be used for teacher education, ArtFul Minds gives both prospective and practicing teachers a comprehensive introduction to the brain, the arts, and using technology in the classroom.  Dr. Schwartz has also published two extensive staff development guides for art education. The guides were used in a series of 16 staff development courses that she designed for teachers and administrators.


Katherine A. Schwartz directs the JMU Summer Art Program for Youth, 2001-2009. The JMU provides 45 classes for youth taught by certified art teachers, and coordinated by a National Board Certified Art Teacher. The art program demonstrates that education in the arts is fundamental to language acquisition, creative thinking, and an educated imagination. 

Dr.Schwartz also serves on the JMU Research Council; Professional Education Coordinating Council; JMU Teacher Recruitment Day; JMU Freshman Reading Program; JMU Conversations with Faculty; Academic Open House; Voices of Experience; SAAH Advisory Committee; Curriculum and Instruction; Faculty Advisor for the Harrisonburg VSArts Festival; and she serves on the Board of Directors for the Arts Council of the Valley.

Dr. Schwartz also provides public presentations in the community on a variety of topics, including: The Arts and Healing; Strong Communities and Strong Art Programs; Everyone can Express Themselves in the Arts; Integrating the Art Curriculum into Grade Level Themes;  Art Education Assessments; Art Images and Reading Comprehension; Art History and Social Studies; Aesthetics for Children; Art Criticism and Writing; and Integrating Art into Every Subject in the School Curriculum.

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