Former Director of Design
National Endowment for the Arts
Of Maurice Cox's appointment, National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia said, "We are excited that Maurice Cox will join us to direct the Arts Endowment's design initiatives. His wide-ranging experience, from professional practice to academic instruction to civic leadership, fits well with the NEA's mission of promoting broad public access to artistic excellence. We know he will provide invaluable guidance for our programs."
Mr. Cox noted, "With the NEA's commitment to the arts as a way to enrich the lives of ordinary citizens and my own experience of design as a fundamentally democratic and public art, I am confident that together we can make design socially and culturally relevant to the everyday lives of Americans, in whichever community they live. Well-designed environments are not a luxury -- they are a public necessity."
Mr. Cox is also Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, School of Architecture and was a 2004-05 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He recently completed eight years on the Charlottesville (VA) City Council with the last two years as the city's mayor. As mayor, professor, and urbanist he was widely recognized as the principal urban designer of his city. During his mayoral term, Frommer's Cities Ranked and Rated selected Charlottesville as "Best Place to Live" out of 400 cities in the United States and Canada.
A native of New York City, he received his education at the Cooper Union School of Architecture under the guidance of Dean John Hejduk. In 2004, he was awarded the Cooper Union's highest alumni honor, the President's Citation for distinguished civic leadership to the architecture profession and, in 2006, the John Hejduk Award for Architecture. He began his teaching career as an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Syracuse University's Italian Program in Florence, Italy, where his teaching career was accompanied by 10 years in architectural partnership with Giovanna Galfione, collaborating on buildings with architect Aldo Rossi.
He was founding partner of RBGC Architecture, Research and Urbanism from 1996-2006 in Charlottesville. The firm became nationally renowned for its work with communities traditionally underserved by the design field. His reputation as a design leader and innovator led to his being featured in Fast Company, as one of America's "20 Masters of Design;" on CBS news magazine "60 Minutes;" in the documentary film This Black Soil; and in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Architecture Magazine -- all for his ground-breaking use of design as a catalyst for social change in the rural town of Bayview, VA.