• About Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts

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  • About the School of Visual Arts


    The Mission of the School of Visual Arts is to provide an educational environment that encourages intellectual development, visual literacy and artistic production, and fosters the development of graduates who are advocates for art.


    The School of Visual Arts, MSUM, is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). These associations are composed of schools representing the highest traditions and educational goals of the artist and designer. Member institutions have proven their dedication to promoting high standards for art and design.

    NASAD requires a complete review of the School of Visual Arts every tenth year for accreditation renewal. A written report and supporting documentation, as well as a site visit by an outside review committee, is required.
    In addition, NASAD requires a yearly summary update.

    The Student Body

    The students who make up the School of Visual Arts come to the program with many different backgrounds, and with varying levels of preparation in art and design. For many students, their participation in MSUM art classes in the freshman year constitutes their first real art experience. Others come to the program with a variety of previous artistic experiences. Regardless of previous preparation, all students beginning as freshman art majors are required to take the Basic Drawing and Foundation Design sequence of courses.

    The student body is drawn largely from Minnesota, North Dakota, and neighboring states, although students from many other states also matriculate. In addition, students from numerous foreign countries are members of the department, including those visiting for a semester or year on academic exchange.

    The Faculty

    The faculty members of the School of Visual Arts have diverse educational and professional backgrounds with academic degrees from major universities in the United States, and abroad. Almost all full-time faculty members have a terminal degree in their area of expertise (MFA; PhD). Areas of studio emphasis include the following: ceramics, drawing, illustration, graphic design, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture.

    In addition, the department includes a specialist in art education, and an art historian specializing in the ancient and medieval, and Renaissance through Modern periods. The faculty members are dedicated instructors and active professionally.

    Studio artists participate in local, national and international art exhibitions, as well as presenting lectures and workshops, researching and publishing articles in their areas of expertise, and participating in conferences. The art historians conduct research in their areas of expertise, publish, lecture and attend conferences internationally.

    The diverse backgrounds of the faculty members, and their diverse approaches to teaching and creative production, combined with high standards in professional practice, create an atmosphere of excitement and challenge in the department.

    In addition to the full-time faculty members, the School of Visual Arts regularly hires part-time instructors to teach a range of courses. We make every effort to staff our classes with instructors who have an appropriate degree in art, art history or art education. In addition to their teaching duties, part-time instructors are often involved in other aspects of department life, but do not usually serve as academic advisors. We value the service they provide to our department, and appreciate the personal talents, expertise, and breadth of experience they bring to our classes.