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C. Richard SwaimC. Richard Swaim

associate professor emeritus
School of Public and International Affairs

Contact Information:

Phone: 410.837.6113

Ph.D., University of Colorado
M.A., Villanova University
B.A., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
A.A., Cumberland Community College
C. Richard Swaim's C.V. (.pdf)

My education started when I was growing up on my grandparents' farm in western Pennsylvania and continued in earnest at a community college after I had completed my military service. Since then, I've been in and out of academe, always as a student and often as a professor, colleague, tutor and friend. Nature, the farm and the military shaped the person I am, seemingly on the border between chaos and order; being on the edge enabled me to take advantage. Paths and directions appeared without my having to plan them: An associate degree in liberal arts was followed by the trilogy—B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in political science—and a university professorship in 1977.

"The Fine Politics of Art" is the title of my doctoral dissertation, which examined the budgetary success of the National Endowment for the Arts. This path established a policy-oriented direction to my scholarship, and my subsequent publications and consulting focused on the arts as a product of agency behavior, which led to exploring indirect support for the arts through tax exemption and charitable contributions. Most recently, I've focused on tax credits for historic preservation and examining artists as workers in the same way one might study any occupation.

My teaching began with undergraduate American politics and government, political theory and rhetoric and continues with graduate courses in the political economy of nonprofit organizations, bureaucratic politics and public management innovations. My consulting clients range from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council to the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Fleming Museum and others. My volunteer activities with United Way, YorkArts and the Waxter Center are part of me and complement my teaching and research. A sabbatical from teaching enabled me to work with YorkArts, a nonprofit arts gallery and education agency, and led me down another path.

Working with Tom Moore, a master blacksmith, I learned the process and products of banging iron, and I began crafting works of art, exhibiting and learning self-expression through a creative artistic process. My work is simple: Economy of line, roughness, rust and old iron compose my palate.

As an angler, a fisherman, I sometimes create hooks, sometimes fish. The large scale of my sculptured fishhooks juxtapose with the fine, tiny beauty of the flies I use when fly-fishing, just as the coal smoke and pounding hammer contrast with the gossamer line and the silence as the fly lands on the water ... only to be shattered by the explosion of a fish breaking through the surface. Perhaps this path is the one that enables me to see the edge between order and chaos and to choose my next destination.