Faculty + Staff

Dr. Sara Wilson McKay

Sara Wilson McKay, Ph.D. is Chair and Associate Professor of Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate students, including the Senior Art Education practicum course, and has been selected as a Faculty Fellow for the new VCU ASPiRE living and learning community focusing on Youth Engagement and the Arts.  In June 2012, Dr. Wilson McKay received a VCU Presidential Research Incentive Program Grant for “The Art of Nursing: Designing a model of art-based interprofessional education leading to enhanced observational and clinical reasoning skills in nursing students.” This program developed with graduate students focuses on enhancement of clinical reasoning skills to improve patient outcomes. Pilot results suggest that students’ clinical reasoning skills benefit from the museum-based experience, particularly in the arenas of precise and thoughtful communication, consideration of diverse points of view, awareness of contextual details, and collaborative critical thinking, among others. More generally, Dr. Wilson McKay’s research on the politics of vision explores the ways that works of art create new seeing, how looking can be a dialogic process, and the possibilities of seeing more of the educational process in and through art. In her publications in the leading journals of art education, Dr. Wilson McKay examines how the arts encourage democratic participation toward social action. She has recently co-authored and co-edited a book-length manuscript with colleague Dr. Melanie Buffington titled Practice Theory: Seeing the Power of Art Teacher Researchers currently in press by the National Art Education Association.

Research, Leadership, & Awards

Dr. Sara Wilson McKay gave presentations at the College Arts Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles. Dr. Wilson McKay was also elected President of the Seminar for Research in Art Education (an affiliate group of NAEA). In addition, she was elected to serve on the review board for the Journal of Cultural Research and was also appointed Media Review Editor of Studies in Art Education.

Recent publications include:

”Balancing Hope and Rage: Lived Cultural Violence and an Art Teacher’s Possibilities” in theJournal of Cultural Research, 27, 5-21

“Seeking Policies for Cultural Democracy: Examining the Past, Present, and Future of U.S. NonProfit Arts in Studies in Art Education, 49(4), 294-310

“Maternal Representations, Material Culture, and the Making of the Self” in the Visuality/Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice conference proceedings.


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