Niki Ciccotelli has been named director of education at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
. Ciccotelli, who joined Crystal Bridges in 2008 as head of school programs and has served as interim director of education since January, brings more than 13 years of experience in education and arts programming to a position that is critical to the museum's mission.
"One of our primary goals at Crystal Bridges is to foster extraordinary and direct connections between people and great works of art," said Don Bacigalupi, director of the museum. "Given Niki's rich and varied experience in the arts and education and her gift for connecting with people, I am confident that she will provide excellent leadership in crafting innovative educational programs that will engage people of all ages and from all walks of life."
"I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to lead an outstanding staff of museum educators who are really listening to what our community dreams of and hopes for from Crystal Bridges," Niki Ciccotelli said. "Our whole team will be working together to define our vision for what education at an art museum can be, and to deliver the exceptional programs that our community needs and deserves."
During her eighteen months with the museum Ciccotelli has developed strong bonds with educators and arts organizations across Arkansas. Paul Leopolous, executive director of the THEA Foundation, an arts organization based in North Little Rock, said: "Niki has a wonderful grasp of the power of art to change people's lives. I think the plans she's already outlined for schools will open students' minds and broaden their understanding in very meaningful ways; I see her vision as making a difference in students' lives all over the state and across the region."
Marsha Jones, superintendent of Springdale Independent School District, is excited by the potential Niki Ciccotelli brings to this new position.
"I'm thrilled that Niki has been given this opportunity," Marsha Jones said. "She's a marvelous teacher and relates extremely well to every audience. She understands how to make connections between the arts and subject areas such as science and social studies. I look forward to continuing to work with her as we forge a partnership between the museum and our school district."
Prior to joining Crystal Bridges' staff Niki Ciccotelli oversaw all scholastic programming for the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where she served as associate curator of education for two years. From 2000 - 2006 she taught art to students from kindergarten through 12th grade in Florida schools. Ciccotelli also draws on a broad range of experiences with Walt Disney Company, where she developed and implemented programs for Disney's Youth Education Series, the Disney Institute and Disney Cruise Line. During her nine years with Disney Ciccotelli also designed products ranging from character watches to a life-size, cast-resin elephant ear that was used to support educational programming at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
As director of education Ciccotelli will lead the organization's planning, development and implementation of a diverse array of arts activities and program offerings, including the utilization of distance learning, new media and other technologies. She will help refine the vision for the interpretation of the permanent collection, plan and implement a dynamic interpretive program and proactively promote collaborations with area schools and community organizations.
Crystal Bridges will conduct a national search for a new head of school programs.