Western Carolina University’s studio art programs prepare students for careers as artists and arts professionals. Guided by a faculty of successful and award-winning artists, students follow a rigorous curriculum that allows them to immerse themselves in their chosen area of study. Each student becomes acquainted with professional practices by meeting one-on-one with experts, developing résumés and portfolios, using the latest facilities and technologies, and applying hands-on techniques and practices. WCU’s small class sizes provide ample opportunity for students to participate in critical discussions and develop their abilities to write and talk about art. The School of Art and Design supports its outstanding students’ efforts by offering a competitive scholarship program.
Students share a set of basic courses including Drawing, 2D and 3D Design, and Art History. The program continues with elective course within the areas of painting, drawing, printmaking, book arts, ceramics, sculpture, photography and electronic media. Students also have the opportunity to earn credit for internships, foreign study, and independent projects. Faculty members arrange activities that encourage students’ creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, free exchange of ideas, and commitment to productivity. Upper level courses help them find a focus, prepare their work for exhibition, develop their resumes and portfolios, and learn ways to promote themselves. The School of Art and Design is located in the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center and shares a close relationship with the Fine Art Museum, where students can show work, and experience original art by contemporary artists. Our Visiting Artists program enhances the student experience by bringing in a variety of professional artists and designers for lectures, critiques and creative projects. This program exposes students to the best of what is going on in art and design today and provides valuable professional contacts.
Thanks to their professional résumés and portfolios and hands-on experience, WCU art graduates are often ahead of the curve when it comes to entering the most sought-after fields and major markets in the public and private sectors. From design, advertising and public relations firms to museums, galleries, libraries and historical societies, a wealth of professional employment opportunities are available to graduates. Some establish their own businesses, art studios or community art centers. Others opt to pursue graduate studies in order to deepen their knowledge and build their professional credentials. WCU undergraduates have been successful in getting into competitive graduate programs and securing financial assistance for graduate study.