Rick Cartwright, founding dean of the University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts, plans to retire at the end of this academic year. He has been dean since 2004, and a member of the school’s faculty since 1975. Cartwright was integral in the vision for and development of USF Downtown, which opened in August 2016. He also oversaw the 2010 restoration of the Bass Mansion (now Brookside) and the rehabilitation of the Mimi and Ian Rolland Art and Visual Communication Center.
During his tenure, Cartwright added the Music Technology program, the Pre-Art Therapy program, the Art History program, the Museum Studies program with the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Dance program in partnership with the Fort Wayne Ballet. He was instrumental in the development of the Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts program as well as the Marching Band programs. Cartwright also established USF’s Theatre program and continued to build the Jesters performance group into a nationally recognized program featuring individuals with mild to severe developmental or physical disabilities. Under his guidance, USF was accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design in 2004.
An active painter, Cartwright is a founding member of Artlink Inc. and is a trustee for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. He has been named a Lilly Scholar and recipient of the Sears Foundation Teaching Excellence and Leadership Award. In 2002, Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne honored him presenting him the Esther Ritz Collyer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Art Education, and in 2014 he received the Keager Award for Outstanding Arts Educator. He has served as Ethics Committee chair, an institutional evaluator and presently as commission member for the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Cartwright earned master of fine arts and master of arts degrees in painting from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor of science in art education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.