James Frederick Garrison Brown

James Frederick Garrison Brown
Coordinator of Visual Arts Education
163 Art Building, 5400 Gullen Mall, WSU

Office Hours: Thursdays 3:00 - 5:30 p.m. and by appointment, before and after classes.

(313) 577-0490 or (313) 804-2123 best
(313) 993-7558

  • Certified to teach Art at levels K-12 in the State of Massachusetts.
  • B.F.A., Painting and Furniture Design, Clark University, Worcester M.A.
  • M.A.T., Teaching Fine Arts, Assumption College, Worcester, M.A.
  • C.A.G.S., Education, Assumption College, Worcester, M.A.
  • Psy.S., Humanistic Psychology and Education, Michigan School of Professional Psychology, Farmington, MI 
  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Union University, Cincinnati, OH


Dr. Brown has been an active member of many visual arts and education communities for over four decades. His work experience includes teaching art at all levels from kindergarten through graduate level. He has exhibited his work on the east coast and in Michigan, he has worked as a designer of specialized environments and aids for physically challenged children, and designed a number of architectural renovations. His intellectual interests include: exploring the art and wisdom of indigenous cultures, the effects of racism and sexism on the development and practice of art making, the experience of teaching as relatedness, and the affective heart of education. His studio work is an attempt to weave together influences from the immediate physical environment, two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, and various aspects of his spiritual journey, into a coherent statement of personal meaning. Recognizing the limits of education in the classroom, he strives to encourage self-directed explorations of course content, as a means to validate life-long growth and learning.


Dr. Brown has served as Program Coordinator and instructor for the University's Visual Arts Education certification and degree programs at Undergraduate, Master's, and Doctoral levels, Provided program and curriculum development for required State recertification review for all colleges and universities in Michigan.

He has participated in evaluation of teaching portfolios. Provided supervision for Student Teachers in 1/2 day and full day internships, Provided oversight and expansion for the program's Laboratory School experience. Provided student advising to undergraduate and graduate students, Served on Doctoral committees, providing guidance, research support, and qualifying exams, Researched, Designed, and taught several new courses for the College of Education including: Applied Design in Visual Arts Education, the Art of Indigenous Cultures, Collage, Assemblage, and Mixed-Media, as well as: Painting, Sculpture, Art Trends, Multicultural Issues, the Theory and Practice of Art Education, and two courses that assist students with the completion of their Master's Theses. 

Academic Interests


  • Scarab Club: Detroit, MI.
  • University of Michigan, Work Gallery, Detroit, MI.
  • Wayne State University: Faculty Exhibitions
  • Detroit Artist’s Market, Detroit, MI.
  • Willis Gallery, Detroit, MI.: two exhibitions
  • Lansing Art Gallery: two exhibitions
  • Whitney Counterweight, New York, N.Y.
  • The Worcester Art Museum: nine exhibitions
  • The Washburn and Moen Gallery: four exhibitions
  • Boston Center for the Arts: three exhibitions
  • Boston Visual Artists Union Gallery: four exhibitions
  • The Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C., two exhibitions
  • The Brocton Art Center, Brocton, MA.
  • Heaney Gallery, Holden, MA: two exhibitions
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Mt Ida College, Newton, MA.
  • Barraford Gallery, Wellesley, MA.
  • Worcester State College, Worcester, MA.
  • Atlantic Union College, Clinton, MA.

Other Creative Works

  • Provided consultation and designs for Interior Architectural renovations of historic Detroit homes to contractors, and for homes in mid-Michigan.
  • Designed and totally rehabilitated a 100 year old house that was ready for demolition in Detroit
  • Created Masks for local theatre production of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, by Ron Allen
  • Created Masks for local theatre production of The Aboriginal Treatment Center, by Ron Allen
  • Set design, fabrication, and painting for Theatre and Dance Troupes in Worcester Massachusetts.

Area Of Expertise

Nurturing innovative approaches to self-expression in the visual arts, and the development of relationship skills as the core of being a teacher.

Facilitating the use of intrapersonal intelligence and social-emotional learning as central skills in working in a multicultural environment.

Design of equipment and environments for differently-able children and adults.

Research Interests

 The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Arts of the Garifuna, A Case Study of institutional and cultural racism on the Indigenous people of the southeastern coast of Belize.

The Effects of Racism and Discrimination on the Arts of the Garifuna, A Case Study of institutional and cultural racism on the Indigenous people of the RAAS coast of Nicaragua.

Rehabilitation Design Manual: A training program with audio/visual documentation, Written for the Michigan Department of Social Services.

Analysis of the Methods and Processes of Teaching in Reggio Emilia inspired schools: A Case Study utilizing Interactional Analysis of the teaching methods used in 4 schools in California.

Gestalt, Perception, and Visual Tracking: A Literature Review with a Theoretical Model for understanding reading problems in children's books.

Why Men and Women Are the Way They Are: a Case Study of contemporary literature on Sex-Role Stereotyping.

Study of the Mental Health Environment in Head Start Schools; A Case Study of teaching styles and methodologies of 20 teachers, written for the Macomb County Head Start Program.

Into the Labyrinth: The Struggle for Personal Freedom: a Phenomenological Study of personal growth in relationships (Doctoral Dissertation).

Courses Taught

  • Applied Design in Visual Arts Education
  • Collage, Assemblage, and Multi-Media: Methods and Materials
  • Introductory Master's Seminar
  • Methods and Materials of Sculptural Expression
  • Multicultural Issures in Visual Arts Education and Art Therapy
  • Painting: Methods and Materials
  • Printmaking: Methods and Materials
  • Terminal Master's Seminar and Essay/Project
  • The Art of Indigenous Cultures: Inclusion in the K-12 Curriculum
  • Theory and Practice in Art Education


Community Engagement Activities

Dr. Brown has created a pro-bono Visual Arts Education program in conjunction with the Charles Drew Transition Center, a DPS school for children from 18 to 26, who experience moderate to severe degrees of cognitive, physical, and/or emotional impairment. Using Service Learning students and student volunteers from the Art Education programs, art classes were designed and taught by Dr. Brown. The Drew Students attended classes two days per week, with the students being bussed to campus one day, and myself and the students going to the center on the other.

Additionally, he has volunteered to teach college courses in Nicaragua for Buefields Indian and Caribbean University, and in Belize at the University of Belize.