Cynthia Marvin

Adjunct Instructor Arts Management

Where are you from?

I grew up in Winston-Salem. I left Winston-Salem for 18 years, but my family was still here, so it was still
“home” to me.

What were your reasons for choosing to teach at Salem?

There are two main reasons. First, I took a class in Arts Management (from Grace Rohrer) at Salem
College 27 years ago and it changed the trajectory of my life. The class helped me win an internship
with the North Carolina Arts Council. That internship led to several years working in arts management.

The second reason is because I have an interest in women’s education. I left the world of arts
management after nine years and went to graduate school to earn a Master of Architecture degree.
Working in the field of architecture I am often the only woman in a room of 10 or 20 people. I want
young women to know that if they are the only female in a business meeting they can and should
contribute to the conversation. In fact, they can even lead the conversation.

What is your role within the community?

I try to stay involved with arts and non-profit groups in the community. Right now I am working on a
video series about local artists. The series is funded by a grant from the Winston-Salem Arts Council.

How do you connect your “full-time” work/experiences into the classroom?

I was only four years out of college when I became Executive Director of an Arts Council. Although I had
learned a lot during my NC Arts Council Internship, I realized that there was so much that I didn’t know.
I learned by doing. I feel that I can help students learn from the things I did right and also help them
learn from the mistakes I made.

Tell us about your global experiences?

When I was in graduate school I had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester. I also spent a few
weeks traveling and completing an independent study in Europe. I can say without hesitation that there
is no substitute for traveling and studying in another country. I saw the most amazing places and met
the most awesome people. It was magical.

What are your areas of special interest?

I have three main interests. 1) My primary interest is in Creativity. Sir Ken Robinson explains in his
famous TED Talk that “schools kill creativity.” One of my overriding goals is to find ways to nurture
creativity in others. 2) I love the Theory and Practice of Placemaking, both the physical and the virtual.
My definition of Placemaking includes architecture, public art, urban design, web design, exhibit design
and much more. 3) Lastly, I am fascinated by Entrepreneurship Education and its potential application
to arts and non-profit management education. I recently completed a MOOC on Tech Entrepreneurship
at Stanford University. It was terrific! (I am also co-founder of a tech start-up.)

What words of advice would you give to Arts Management students?

I have the same advice to all students, no matter their major. Find things you are passionate about and
follow your passion.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

I find a new favorite quote at least once a month through people I follow on Twitter. I like just about
anything that has to do with creativity.
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” - Pablo Picasso

What do you do for fun?

I paint and I read. One of my favorite reads is Fast Company magazine.

About Cynthia Marvin

Cynthia has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and nine years of experience in the fields of arts management and public administration. She also has a Master of Architecture degree and 16 years of experience in architecture. Her architecture clients have included Fortune 500 companies, prize-winning scientists and leading research universities. She has designed approximately 1.2 million square feet of technically complex facilities totaling more than half a billion dollars, including the largest proteomics facility in the world and one of the largest vaccine manufacturing facilities it he world. She was also an integral member of an international design team on the University of Toronto Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, which won 15 design awards and was selected as one of the best new buildings in the world in 2006.


Bachelor of Fine Arts, UNC-Greensboro
Master of Architecture, NC State University



Arts Management