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.

A celebration of George’s life is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church (1301 Red Top Orchard Road, Waynesboro). Information about joining the service via live-stream will be available on George’s tribute/condolences page (McDow Funeral Home, A CVPA-hosted celebration that will be open to the public is tentatively scheduled. Information will be posted on the CVPA’s website as it becomes available.

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.

Anti-racism Resources
Special Programs
Forbes Center
JMU Arts on Facebook
JMU Arts on Twitter

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