Cullen Swinson was recruited by Peggy Cooper Cafritz to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 1998. He currently serves as the school’s Chair of English Studies, previously having served as Ellington’s first Dean of Humanities and Director of Academics and having taught creative writing and dance history at the school. Swinson holds a Master of Arts in Humanities from Georgetown University. He is also a visual artist and an amateur cellist. A painting by Swinson that was owned by Cafritz was lost in the fire that tragically destroyed much of her collection in 2009.