CVPA Dean Search

James Madison University invites applications and nominations for Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

For position details and electronic application information visit

Review of applications will continue until the position is filled and will begin on Jan. 17. 

Wanted: Your Art Stories!
QR Code for Story Survey

We are seeking positive stories of innovations and/or specials touches between faculty and students.  Please consider sharing your story by submitting a paragraph description that might include a quote, demonstrating resilience, connection, and great teaching/learning.  Just scan the QR code or click here.

In Memory of Dean Sparks

We in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) are saddened by the passing of our friend and former colleague Dr. George Sparks, who died on Sunday, September 13th, 2020, after a battle with cancer.  Dr. Sparks retired in June 2020 after having served as the dean of the CVPA since 2008.

Dr. Sparks once said about the arts:

"The arts are so powerful no matter which artistic endeavor you think about or look into... The arts can change the way you look at life.  They can change the way you look at what we are doing on the borders of our country.  They can change everything about you - with or without you knowing it."

We will forever love and miss Dr. Sparks and thank him for sharing his passion for the arts and for positively impacting those around him with his gentle spirit and contagious kindness!

You can learn more about Dr. Sparks and his careeer at JMU here.

The family asks that in lieu of donations or flowers, contributions furthering George’s commitment to the arts be made to the Dr. George E. Sparks College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship Endowment, available here:

Dr. George E. Sparks College of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship Endowment 

Diversity and the Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison University believes that equity, access and inclusion are moral imperatives and artistic obligations.  Diversity—in the stories we represent, the students we serve, and the audiences we engage—is vital for the health and relevance of contemporary arts practice. CVPA, therefore, welcomes diversity of perspective, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ability.

The faculty and staff of the College of Visual and Performing Arts stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

We are listening and learning in this moment, and we commit ourselves anew to joining black individuals and communities in the fight against racial inequality.  As educators and artists, we pledge to continue this deeply necessary work not only in our classrooms and performance spaces, but also in our hearts and minds.  

To our black students: We see you and we stand with you.

Susan Zurbrigg
New Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Named

Art professor Susan Zurbrigg has been named the new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for the CVPA!  A recent recpient of the Beck Faculty Fellowship, Susan has been a tireless advocate for change through the arts at JMU and in the Harrisonburg and Rockhingham communities through the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation "Change the Narrative" project.

In Fall 2019, Professor Zurbrigg staged an art intervention with JMU students that memorialized Charlotte Harris, a black woman lynched by a white mob near Harrisonburg in 1878.  On Saturday, Sept. 26 at 10 am, the Northeast Neighborhood Association and the Harrisonburg Community Remembrance Project unveiled a historical marker for Charlotte Harris in Court Square. The community was invited to attend the unveiling ceremony virtually at 

Anti-racism Resources

These resources are curated by the JMU College of Visual and Performing Arts.  While not an exhaustive list, it seeks to provide resources for arts students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the larger community.  Special thanks to the School of Theatre and Dance for providing these resources.

Black Lives Matter:

Collated Anti-Racism Education Resource Lists:

Articles and Tools to Teaching Race and Anti-Racist Practice in the Classroom:

What CVPA Academic Council is Reading:

Special Programs
Forbes Center
JMU Arts on Facebook
JMU Arts on Twitter

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