Cathleen Lewis is an art administrator and artist dedicated to advocating and promoting diversity and equity in the arts. Lewis has 20+ years working in arts institutions where she has championed access for students, teachers, teens, and artists. Until recently, she served as Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Museum of Arts and Design, overseeing all programming and initiatives developed by the Education Department. During her tenure at MAD, Lewis founded Arts Access, a program serving students in Title 1 schools and the Arts Reach program devoted to serving students undergoing short and long term suspensions. The Artist Studio program at MAD also fell under her purview, championing a diverse group of emerging to mid-career artists. Previously, Lewis has held various positions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Drawing Center. She holds an M.F.A from the School of Visual Arts and has attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Lewis’s artwork has been exhibited nationally in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art in America, Flash Art, and other publications.
Museum of Arts and Design / VP of Education and Programs
2012–2018, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
Senior Management Team member. Contribute to institutional policy decisions related to all departments, including human resources, security, development, membership, curatorial, and public relations; co-signer on checks and wire transfers for vendors, artists, and other contractors.
Direct all aspects of the five-person Education Department, including nine artist educators, 30 docent volunteers, and a rotating annual roster of 18 artists in the Artist Studios. Determine the philosophical approach, methodologies, and decision making on all educational programming. Formulate strategic plans; recruit and oversee training for personnel. Direct outreach and programming for Artist Studios Program. Manage the departmental budget.
Direct all activities of the Education Department, including the Artist Studios, studio demonstrations, the project space, lectures, symposia, conferences, workshops, time-based performances, and programs for schools, youth, families, seniors, educators, adults, arts professionals, and the general public.
Direct and develop partnerships with cultural institutions including City University of New York, Parsons School of Design, NYC Department of Education, NYU, Bank Street College, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and Arts Connection.
Direct managing and training of the Docent Corps of volunteers, artist educators, and rotating interns.
Direct the Education Department’s content for the museum website and email blasts, including audio tours and video content.
Museum of Arts and Design / Manager of School, Youth, and Family Programs
2009–2012, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
Directed all outreach initiatives to schools, youth, and families. Determined the philosophical approach and educational methodologies for school, youth, family, and teacher programs. Recruited and trained personnel. Managed school program budget; wrote and managed funding reports for school program grants and evaluations; assisted in grant writing and other development activities.
Initiated, piloted, developed, and managed the Museum’s Title I, Arts Access, and Arts Reach programs. Expanded Arts Reach (a program for short- and long-term superintendent suspension schools) from one pilot school to 11 schools in two boroughs within three years.
Managed all programming activities for schools, teachers, youth, and families, including MAD’s flagship program MADlab, professional development for teachers, workshops, and performing arts programs.
Supervised the writing and publication of curriculum and lesson plans for school groups and partnerships.
Supervised a team of interns, volunteers, and artist educators.
Developed and managed partnerships with NYC Department of Education, Parsons, The New School, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Managed Artslife, MAD’s paid internship program for high school students.
New Museum of Contemporary Art / Manager of High School and Teacher Programs
2007–2009, 235 Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Developed and managed museum education programs for K–12 students, including participatory workshops, lectures, and peer-group discussions for the museum’s signature G:Class high school program.
Developed and managed all curriculum lesson plans and other web-based resources for the G:Class website on contemporary art and museum initiatives.
Developed and implemented professional development workshops for teachers and directed the teachers advisory committee for the G:Class partnerships.
Managed and implemented outreach to community organizations to foster community engagement; developed new audiences for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation grant during the museum’s inaugural and second year in the new building.
Managed and trained artist educators and museum educators working on- and off-site for in-school residencies. This included testing materials for the art education guide Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education (RCAME), published by Routledge and the New Museum.
Project-managed and authored essays in the second edition of RCAME and liaised with artists, writers, professors, and other consultants on the compilation and editing of materials for publication. Developed interview questions for artist practice statements; directed the gathering of images, copyright, and other administrative responsibilities for the publication.
Directed collaboration between the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Groundswell Mural Project for the mural What We Want, What We Believe, inspired by the artist Emory Douglas.
Managed budgets and funding reports for education grant and evaluations; assisted with grant writing and other development activities.
Whitney Museum of American Art / Head of Youth and Community Programs
1999–2003, 945 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Managed and trained high school students to lead workshops, lectures, and discussions with families, peers, and senior citizens.
Mentored youth in research and learning about American art and culture; communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills; and career development.
Planned and coordinated seminars, workshops, discussions with artists, and excursions to cultural institutions for young participants.
Developed special projects and collaborations with schools and community organizations.
Managed budgets and funding reports for education grants; compiled annual reports and evaluations; assisted in grant writing and other development activities.
Represented the Youth Insights teen program at the Pew Charitable Trusts Art Museums and Communities funding meetings, off-site educational events, and conferences.
School of Visual Arts / Teaching Artist
2002–2003, 209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
Facilitated in-depth concentration of art production and provided critique to college students and adults enrolled in a two-month art program.
The Jewish Museum / Teaching Artist
2004, 1109 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128
Developed content and implemented coursework in painting for the summer residency program for high school students.
Drawing Center / Guest Resident Artist
1996–1997, 35 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013
Worked closely with Annie Philbin and James Elaine to monitor and organize artist slide registry, view artists’ work, coordinate portfolio reviews, and assist with the artist selection for group exhibitions.
Museum of Modern Art / Teaching Artist
1994–1996, 11 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
Led gallery discussions, hands-on workshops, and school and family programs.
Whitney Museum of American Art / Teaching Artist
1997–1999, 945 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Led gallery discussions, hands-on workshops, and school and family programs.
Whitney Museum of American Art / Independent Study Program
1994–1995, New York, NY
The Independent Study Program provides a setting within which students pursuing art practice, curatorial work, art historical scholarship, and critical writing engage in ongoing discussions and debates that examine the historical, social, and intellectual conditions of artistic production. The program encourages the theoretical and critical study of the practices, institutions, and discourses that constitute the field of culture. My focus was on studio practice.
School of Visual Arts / Master of Fine Arts
1992–1994, New York, NY
The Art Practice program is a fully interdisciplinary approach to an MFA. Artists in the program are not defined or separated by medium or discipline. My focus was on 3D installation and art theory, allowing for experimentation and growth.
Skidmore College / Bachelor of Science
1992, Saratoga Springs, NY
University Without Walls (UWW) is an external bachelor’s degree program that allows adult students to pursue coursework at their own pace. Living near the campus provided me with full access to the facilities, professors, and students in daily coursework.
University of Albany / Liberal Arts
1990–1991, Albany, NY
Transferred liberal arts credits to Skidmore UWW to complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science.
Fashion Institute of Technology / Associate of Applied Science, Fashion Buying and Merchandising
1977–1982, New York, NY
Completed the required coursework as a part-time student.
Honors and awards
2010, TIME, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1996, Scholarship, Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, Washington
1995, Blue Mountain Center Residency, New York, New York
1994, 1995, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Residency, Amherst, Virginia
1993, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, Maine
Alternate Fellow, College Art Association, New York, New York
1991, Spellman Achievement Award, University at Albany, New York
2017, National Art Education (NAEA), Pre-conference, Diversity and Inclusion: Art Museum Educators as Levers of Change, Hosted and led roundtable discussion.
2015, Art 21, Creative Chemistries: Radical Practices for Art + Education, panelist.
2012, National Art Education Association (NAEA), Pre-conference, Art Museum Learning, “The Digital Age: Developing Audio Interpretations with Teens”; “Making a Difference: The Impact of Artmaking in Museum Teacher Professional Development Programs, led roundtable discussion.”
2007, NYC Museum Educators Roundtable: Developing new audiences and community building, round table discussion.