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CFAC Welcomes New Permanent Director

Dr. Tanisha M. Jackson comes to Syracuse from Ohio State's Hale Black Cultural Center

Jan 18, 2019 — Article by: Rob Enslin

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Tanisha M. Jackson, Ph.D.

The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) announces the appointment of Tanisha M. Jackson as executive director of the Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) and professor of practice in the Department of African American Studies (AAS).

Jackson comes to A&S from The Ohio State University (OSU), where she was assistant director of The Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center.

Concurrently, Jackson was an adjunct assistant professor of Africana studies at the University of Cincinnati (UC), specializing in eLearning strategies, and a visiting assistant professor of Africana studies at The University of Toledo (UT). 

“The College proudly supports CFAC, which provides access and opportunity for a range of visual and performing artists,” says A&S Dean Karin Ruhlandt. “I look forward to collaborating with Tanisha, who is a big-picture thinker with a clear vision of the arts and humanities for the campus community. CFAC plays a major role in showcasing diverse cultural perspectives, offering critical engagement for students and the community.”  

Jackson will oversee all CFAC operations—curating exhibitions, developing cultural programs and research initiatives, maintaining collections, coordinating public outreach and managing fundraising. 

She also will teach one AAS course per semester on African diaspora art and culture.

“I am committed to building on the foundation laid by my predecessors, notably Interim Executive Director Kal Alston, and showcasing the transformative power of art from the African diaspora. CFAC provides a nexus between the campus community and the people of African descent in the surrounding region,” says Jackson, who has more than 15 years’ experience in consulting, research and instruction in nonprofit and for-profit settings. 

At OSU’s Hale Center, Jackson supervised a staff that included nearly a hundred student workers. She also co-designed curricula for an accredited course on black cultural centers; developed and maintained records; and helped organize lectures, screenings, exhibitions and performances. 

It was at OSU that Jackson earned multiple degrees, including a Ph.D. in art education and a M.A. in African American and African studies. She also earned an executive M.B.A. from UT.

“My background as an educator, curriculum designer and content writer has led to organizational growth and to increased productivity and performance,” says Jackson, citing additional experience with OSU’s University Exploration program and Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing. She also worked for Crane R&D, a Columbus-based, minority-owned consulting firm, developing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curriculum and activities for scholastic and collegiate clients. 

Founded in 1972 as a launching pad for African diaspora artists, CFAC has grown to support Latino, Native American and women artists. The center offers public exhibitions, artist talks, classes and workshops (particularly in art, dance and movement), and is a longtime academic partner of AAS.