A Letter to Prospective Students


These are exciting times at the WSU Art & Design Department . The new and senior faculty are working together on a reinvigorated vision for our presence in the immediate and larger community, as well as for a rigorous and rewarding experience for our students.

Due to interdisciplinary projects and a hi–tech Design Facility with state–of–the–art equipment, the Design students will graduate with a strong portfolio and the capacity for innovative thinking.

The recent donation of two paintings by American modernist Max Weber by his son, longtime WSU benefactor Mo Weber, created the opportunity for an exercise in design, publicity, exhibition installation, and art historical research for a number of students. The paintings were temporarily installed in the Mo and Dorothy Weber Student Art Gallery alongside striking banners and historical resources. Although this donation is a rare event, we foresee additional collaborative projects within our department to help foster a sense of community and independent initiative among our students.

Given the importance of the study of real works of art in a contemporary context, the WSU Art & Design Department maintains a vital gallery program of local, regional, and national artists in group or solo exhibitions. Often exhibiting artists will lecture and interact with the students in order to give them a taste of the challenges and rewards of maintaining an artistic practice.

Our major programs – Studio Art, Art Teaching, I–Design and Graphic Design, as well as Art History and Studio Art minors – are closely integrated with one another and with the broader liberal arts curriculum of WSU. Students will meet and interact in numerous studio and classroom situations in order to get a sense of the totality of artistic discourse today, which is never fulfilled in isolation, but which feeds off of literature, music, science, politics, and many other disciplines.

All beginning students will be instructed in the foundational languages of design, composition, construction, and drawing.

The Studio Art major at WSU will achieve a distinct and well-informed artistic voice through exploration of contemporary art practices, sustained studio practice and experimentation in a variety of media. The areas of concentration available to art majors include Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking and Sculpture.

The Art Teaching major is also grounded in studio practice but gains the specialized body of knowledge for teaching in the K-12 environment. This field is currently one of rapid and contentious change, and the successful art teacher must be knowledgeable and passionate about the concrete benefits that art bestows to young minds. These include analytical skills as well as the courage and curiosity that is required for innovation in any sphere.

The I-Design major provides students with an up-to-date and adaptive design education. As the creative field continues to expand, the program will enable students to become leaders in multiple design related industries and even their own communities. The I-Design major incorporates a concentration elective (mimicking the area of expertise) that allows students to individualize their program with an area of interest. Students can choose from Studio Practices, Conceptual Illustration, Technology and Interactivity, Business and Marketing, Sustainable Design, Community Development and Integrated Studies. Students will be required to use Apple laptop computers.

The Graphic Design major is also entering a rapidly changing field, a field that is driven by technology, but still shaped by intellect and imagination, qualities that cannot be synthesized. Our position is that technology must become as natural to the designer as a brush, but the brush does not do the work for you. A fluency with standard industry software will be the stepping stone to professional execution of creative ideas in visual communication.

All majors will become familiar with the history and theory of art, supplemented by coursework in the sciences and humanities, all of which will hone the indispensable skills of critical thinking and empathic understanding.

Numerous scholarships are awarded each year by the art faculty to incoming freshmen, transfers, and continuing students. To apply, see the Scholarships section of this website.
In the coming months, we are looking forward to a greater utilization of space for classrooms, exhibitions, and meetings that will vitalize and cement our department as a community of teachers, students, and professionals who are passionate about art.

Instead of only telling you what we have to offer, we would like to challenge you to bring something to the mix. The structure we set up is based on our belief that education, particularly art education, is a give-and-take of ideas, insights, and personalities. As incoming students, there is a great deal that you don’t know. But what we don’t know is how you will react – what will intrigue you, what will leave you cold, and what ideas will compel you to action. Our goal is provide a ground on which you as students can exercise enthusiasm and initiative. We believe that art makes and remakes the world, and we are looking for partners.

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