David Cook

Dr. David A. Cook

Professor of Art

Download vCard


David Ainsworth Cook joined the faculty of the School of Liberal Arts of Georgia Gwinnett College in 2008 after a decade as the art professor and gallery director of Sterling College in Kansas. Born and educated in Mississippi, Cook began his teaching career as a missionary in Papua New Guinea. Upon returning to the United States, Cook taught at James Madison University where he received his MFA degree in drawing and painting. Immediately after graduate school, he was invited to join the faculty of Bridgewater College in Virginia where he taught for a decade before venturing into starting new programs at a variety of schools.

Cook has always been an artist, exhibiting publicly for the first time at age 8 in the Mississippi Arts Festival, an annual exhibit in which he showed work almost every year from 1965 until 1980. His first solo exhibit at the A.E. Wood Memorial Library in 1975 attracted public attention and his first newspaper review. His art was represented in The Upstairs Gallery in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as in the Mississippi Museum of Art where he was not only one of the first exhibitors, his work was also the first sale of the newly established museum, selling to Robert Joffrey of The Joffrey Ballet. As an artist, Cook was included in juried exhibits such as “Recent American Works on Paper,” a Smithsonian exhibit curated by Ned Rifkin, “Baltimore Artscape,” “Art of the Southeast 1986” and the Dakota National. Cook’s painting, “The Energy of Longing,” garnered catalog inclusion from Ned Rifkin and received a review in The Washington Post.

Cook curated several exhibitions of works by other artists in their first solo exhibitions, usually researching and assisting an artist who was well known in another setting. Those exhibits include two shows he curated for The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, “The Prints of I.J. Sanger” and “Jack Burnley: Hero Artist.” Isaac J. Sanger was an early self-proclaimed “Modernist” in New York and worked in the WPA Federal Art Project. The Virginia Museum exhibition enabled the preservation of dozens of rare prints from an important period of American Art. Hardin “Jack” Burnley is best known as “the first good Superman artist” during World War II. Burnley was also the youngest syndicated sports cartoonist and the exhibit showcased his sports illustrations alongside his superhero comic book work. Cook has also curated solo exhibitions for illustrators Christopher Canyon and Cheryl Harness – working twice with Harness as part of the annual Santa Fe Trail Children’s Literature Festival. Harness is the author-illustrator of several National Geographic books on American History. Cook spent seven years working with his friend, the internationally known illustrator, comic book artist and television animator Alex Toth, establishing a website and archive, continuing to promote Toth’s publication and curating Toth’s first solo exhibition. Toth is best known for his work on the first animated action shows for television with Hanna-Barbera.

Cook is also an illustrator and in 2008 illustrated the books “My Heart in His Hands” by Diana Winters (Mennonite Press) and “I Am White Elk” by Dick Wellman (Bulletin Press). “I Am White Elk” is based on true stories from the 1879 refugees of the Oklahoma escape involving Dull Knife, better known as Morning Star of the Cheyenne. Sales of the book were contributed to Studio 96, a new art center under construction in Sterling, Kansas.

Cook has appeared in documentary programs on the Arts & Entertainment Network, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the FX Network. He has published articles on artists, illustrators, motion pictures, television and pop culture.


  • Doctorate – art – James Madison University
  • Bachelor’s – art – Belhaven University


  • GGC – Excellence in Student Engagement