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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Atkinson Gallery Director

Sarah Cunningham has been named the new director of the Atkinson Gallery at Santa Barbara City College.


Ms. Cunningham brings more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit arts and education sector to her position. “I am thrilled to be joining SBCC’s Art Department as director of the Atkinson Gallery at this exciting moment of transition and relish the opportunity to both build on past successes and to imagine the future growth of the gallery program,” she said. “I believe that art is an essential part of society that gives voice, creates dialogue and exposes us to new ideas and that a curator acts as mediator between artist and audience and facilitates this vital discussion.”

From 2006 to 2011, Ms. Cunningham served as the director of the College of New Jersey Art Gallery (NJ). During her career, she has curated over 30 contemporary art exhibitions including Inherited Traits: Nina Katchadourian & Heidi Kumao, Willie Cole: Solo Exhibition and Imag(in)ing the Book: The Work of Xu Bing. Previously Ms. Cunningham worked as the director of programs for the Worcester Center for Crafts (MA) and served as the neighborhood artist-in-residence for the Woonsoocket Neighborhood Development Corporation (RI), curator of exhibitions and public programs at the Alice Austen House Museum (NY) and executive director/curator of the Albany Center Galleries (NY). She was also the founding director of the Empire State Partnerships Professional Development Program at the New York State Alliance for Arts Education (NY).

Through her firm Salt Mound Arts Consulting, Ms. Cunningham has provided curating and nonprofit management services to clients including Rutherfurd Hall (NJ), Flushing Council on 721 Cliff Drive • Santa Barbara, California 93109-2394 • Phone (805) 965-0581 • Fax (805) 963-7222 Culture and the Arts (NY) and the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NY). Ms. Cunningham received her B.A. degree in American Studies from Tufts University and her M.F.A. degree in Art Photography from Syracuse University.

Dr. Alice Scharper, SBCC Dean of Educational Programs, said, “We are indeed so fortunate to have Sarah join us. She brings a wealth of experience with gallery administration, as well as community service in the arts.” She added, “What strikes me most poignantly about Sarah is her insight and understanding into the nature of learning itself — its invitation to expand awareness and vision — and I feel that in her role as an artist and gallery director, Sarah will serve as a vital facilitator of important learning for our students and our community.”

The Atkinson Gallery opens on Friday, August 31 with a reception for the exhibit Art Faculty Biennial. The event will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Atkinson’s new temporary quarters (WC301) near the SBCC Garvin Theatre on West Campus while the Humanities Building is being renovated. The exhibit, which will be on display through September 28, highlights the diverse array of media and styles by SBCC’s art faculty, many of whom have their artwork displayed regionally and nationally.

For more information, please call 805- 965-0581 ext. 3484 or go to: gallery.sbcc.edu

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