Steven Ciampaglia
Steven Ciampaglia

Socially engaged artist and scholar Steven Ciampaglia named to Champney Family Professorship at Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Institute of Art

Steven Ciampaglia—an artist and scholar specializing in arts education and issues of equity and social justice—has been named the Champney Family Associate Professor in Art. The endowed position is shared jointly by the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) and Case Western Reserve University.  

The position was created in 2001 to enhance visual arts education at Case Western Reserve and CIA and to bolster collaborative partnerships between the two institutions. Ciampaglia will begin his tenure with the 2020-21 academic year.

“We look forward to the contributions that Dr. Ciampaglia will bring to Cleveland,” said Kathryn Heidemann, CIA’s chief academic officer. “He will play a critical role in furthering our work in socially engaged artistic practice, and his experiences will resonate strongly with our students. Now more than ever, they are determined to create work that makes a difference in our world.”

With a background in art education, Ciampaglia will also help to further develop CIA’s teaching and learning initiatives for faculty. 

Steven Ciampaglia
Ciampaglia, lecturing at the Plug-In Studio—a new media artist collective in Chicago

“Dr. Ciampaglia’s commitment to social engagement and positive transformation—tied to his interdisciplinary artistic practice—resonate profoundly with our current and future plans,” said Elizabeth Bolman, chair of the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve. “Dr. Ciampaglia has extensive collaborative experience, both as an artist and as a community activist. He is an early and high-profile leader in the emerging field of new media art and social justice. We expect that he will substantially raise the profile of art making and art education in University Circle and far beyond.”

Most recently, Ciampaglia served as an associate professor of art education and the director of teacher education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ciampaglia’s areas of expertise also include critical theory and pedagogy, art and technology, emerging literacies, curriculum development, K-12 teacher licensure and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).

Ciampaglia is co-director, with Kerry Richardson, of the Plug-In Studio, a socially engaged new media artist collective in Chicago. The Plug-In Studio’s projects include working with teens from a diversity of communities to create video games that explore social and political issues germane to the teens’ lived experiences.  

He was a 2015 winner, with Richardson, of the Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art. Ciampaglia and Richardson were awarded Best in Show in the I Can’t Breathe exhibition at ARC Gallery in Chicago in 2015. They are the 2020 recipients of the Illinois Arts Council fellowship in interdisciplinary/computer-based arts.

Ciampaglia has presented his research at MIT, Stanford University, Columbia University, and numerous National Art Education Association annual conferences. As a consultant, he has worked with the i3 Convergence Academies, which transformed two Chicago public schools into digital art academies. He has extensive collaborative experience, both as an artist and as a community activist, and works at the intersections of problems including poverty, racism and sexism.

He earned his doctorate in education at Northern Illinois University, his master’s in art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his bachelor of fine arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Named after Helen Champney Cole—a painter, creator of jigsaw puzzles, and a generous supporter of the arts who attended classes at CIA—the professorship is designed to encourage greater collaboration between the two University Circle institutions through an endowment Champney Cole established before passing away in 2004 at the age of 86. 

For more information, contact Daniel Robison (