Saturday, July 5, 2008

Design and the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts has a Director of Design, a design grants program, several design programs of its own, and a variety of publications about design. Click on the heading above to see their design grants program.

Maurice Cox (left) is the current Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts since October 2007. He was an architecture professor at the University of Virginia before being appointed the NEA's Director of Design. At the NEA, Cox supervises the panel selection and grant making process in design, oversee the Mayors' Institute on City Design, Governors' Institute on Community Design, and Your Town programs, and provides professional leadership to the field.

Cox arrived at the NEA at about the time the Arts Endowment announced that the Edward W. Rose III Family Fund of The Dallas Foundation has given a gift of $250,000 for the NEA's Mayors' Institute on City Design.

Cox was an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture and a 2004-05 recipient of the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He recently completed eight years on the Charlottesville (VA) City Council with the last two years as the city's mayor. As mayor, professor, and urbanist he was widely recognized as the principal urban designer of his city. During his mayoral term, Frommer's Cities Ranked and Rated selected Charlottesville as "Best Place to Live" out of 400 cities in the United States and Canada.

A native of New York City, he received his education at the Cooper Union School of Architecture under the guidance of Dean John Hejduk. In 2004, he was awarded the Cooper Union's highest alumni honor, the President's Citation for distinguished civic leadership to the architecture profession and, in 2006, the John Hejduk Award for Architecture. He began his teaching career as an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University's Italian Program in Florence, Italy, where his teaching career was accompanied by 10 years in architectural partnership with Giovanna Galfione, collaborating on buildings with architect Aldo Rossi.

He was founding partner of RBGC Architecture, Research and Urbanism from 1996-2006 in Charlottesville. The firm became nationally renowned for its work with communities traditionally underserved by the design field. His reputation as a design leader and innovator led to his being featured in Fast Company, as one of America's "20 Masters of Design;" on CBS news magazine "60 Minutes;" in the documentary film This Black Soil; and in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Architecture Magazine -- all for his ground-breaking use of design as a catalyst for social change in the rural town of Bayview, Virginia.

Cox was a founding principal, with Ken Schwartz, of Community Planning and Design Workshop (CP+D Workshop) which is working on urban design strategies for the cities of Richmond, Virginia, and Moss Point, Mississippi. Cox has lectured widely on the topics of democratic design, civic engagement, and the designer's role as leader.

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