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Student working on an art piece

Art and Design

The Department of Art + Design's vision is to provide a creative environment that enables students to ask questions, think critically, and take risks as they gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary for a meaningful, productive life and work as critical makers in a global society.

Art and Design at Austin Peay brings unique artistic experiences into each classroom.

Our students and educators all come from distinctive backgrounds. This makes each class period a new opportunity to engage with an original thought process to use in your work. And with state-of-the-art facilities in our new Art and Design building, you can revolutionize what the future of art looks like. Our faculty members continue to add to their real-world experience by regularly creating and showing their work.


Portfolio Review
College Art + Design Day coming this Fall

Austin Peay Department of Art + Design welcomes all high school art students, art teachers, and parents to our annual College Art + Design Day! Mark your calendars because this year it has moved to November 2nd. Spend the day with us and see what studying art at APSU is all about.



Izzy Melvin
Izzy Melvin
Graphic Design major

The second I stepped on the grounds here, I knew this is where I wanted to be. My mom looked at me after the orientation, and she said, ‘This is where you’re going to go, I already see it in your face.
Paul Collins
Paul Collins
Art and Design Professor

My strength as a teacher is in enabling and challenging students to define and refine their own creative research.
Patrick Gosnell
Patrick Gosnell
Art and Design Associate Professor

I appreciate the willingness of faculty in other departments to collaborate for the benefit of our students. Design is a field that requires knowledge of many different disciplines, so it's an invaluable experience for design students to work with people from outside of our department.

Academic Programs and Minors

The Department of Art and Design offers three separate program concentrations and four minors. Any of these options will give you the tools you need to enter the professional world from working in an in-house design firm to setting up your own studio.

Scott Raymon teaches student
Animation and Visual Effects Concentration

Animation and Visual Effects is a versatile and highly in-demand skill set for today’s digital artist. The ever-evolving digital world demands artists that have the ability to critically generate content that is both technical and creative. The generalist approach to the discipline presents graduating students with a wide-range of career opportunities in the entertainment industry.

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Student sits over cutting mat
Graphic Design Concentration

Through a combination of courses in typography, web design and visual communication, students will learn how to participate in the creative economy.

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Student works on canvas in Art and Design building lab
Studio Art Concentration

Studio Art graduates gain the skills necessary to implement a concept through technique, material, or a discipline specific strategy. They develop a personal style or vision and execute it across a variety of media, ideas, and creative activities through critical making and critical analysis.

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Printmaking Studio
Art Education Concentration

Art Education is one of the fastest growing fields in the 21st century, and our graduates are successful in finding positions in these areas. Fine artists are able to purse graduate work or are often successful at creating entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves in galleries, as freelance artists, and as owners of small business. The greatest value of an arts education is that it prepares students to solve problems in a creative way.

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Printmaking Studio
Art History Concentration

Art History builds visual skills, critical reasoning, and prepares students for careers in curation in art galleries and museums.

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Our state-of-the-art facilities house one of the largest Art and Design departments in the state.

Art and Design building
The Art and Design building opened for classes in Fall 2017. 

“I really do believe it is one of the best programmed art buildings I’ve ever seen, and I was an arts and sciences dean, so I’ve been in that field for a long time,” Dr. Alisa White, Former APSU president, said. “The Art and Design faculty programmed something that will really serve our students, that really sets us apart.”

The $21.3 million, 46,000-square-foot building features faculty office space, general purpose classrooms, a multifunction room, art studios, a photographic studio, a general art gallery and a student gallery.

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Department events and exhibitions

From visiting artists and student exhibitions to senior student shows and College Art Day, there is always something exciting happening in our department. Read more about everything we have going on throughout the year below.

Students listen to art feedback
College Art and Design Day

During College Art and Design day, high school art students, as well as their art teachers and parents, are invited to participate in a daylong experience of college programs and careers in the visual arts. Students will have a choice of creative workshops designed to give them a college-level studio experience, while art faculty meet with parents and teachers about the program, the value of art education, scholarships, the Tennessee Promise and any other topics of interest.

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Student works on canvas in Art and Design building lab
Juried Student Art Exhibitions

Our Student Juried Art Exhibitions are professionally juried from outside the University, emulating the practice of real world art shows. The exhibition showcases the best artwork produced by students during the past year and gives students the opportunity to participate in a professional exhibition where a qualified juror selects artwork and artistic merit awards.

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Amy Sherald presents on campus
Visiting Artists

Throughout the history of the Department of Art + Design, we have been committed to bringing top artists, designers, curators, and thinkers to Austin Peay State University and the Clarksville community. Along with the support of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, all of our events within the Department of Art + Design are free and open to the public.

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Students look at art in gallery
BFA Studio Art Concentration Thesis Exhibitions

Each semester, the Department of Art + Design hosts senior student BFA Studio Art thesis exhibitions. Each show takes place in the Barbara Beach Gallery on the second floor of the Art + Design building. 

Thesis Exhibitions for Fall have begun! Openings receptions are every Monday evening from 5:00-7:00 pm with remarks by the artists at 5:30 pm.

Scott Raymond works with student in classroom
Portfolio Review

All students with a major in Art + Design must register for a portfolio review after they have completed all foundation level courses. The review will be conducted by all full time faculty members within the Department of Art + Design. The faculty will vote immediately following the review on the students acceptance to degree tracks. The vote will either approve, deny, or defer their acceptance.

Portfolio Review sign ups are open! Click on the Read more below to fill out the form.

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Recognizing Excellence: A look at APSU's College of Arts and Letters 2024 Distinguished Alumni

Austin Peay State University's College of Arts and Letters has announced the recipients for the 2023-24 academic year's Distinguished Alumni Awards: Barry Jones, Keith Kauffman, Joseph Miller, Melissa Smith, Alan Mearnes and Patrick Pride.

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Breaking visual barriers: APSU student's tactile art movement makes artwork tangible

Kayla Cross, a freshman studio art major at Austin Peay State University, is on a mission to create a tactile art movement so visually impaired people can engage with the medium in a new way.

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APSU to celebrate student artwork with 56th Annual Juried Student Exhibition

The Department of Art + Design is celebrating the end of the 2023-24 academic year with the 56th Annual Juried Student Exhibition. The show opens in The New Gallery on April 8 and runs through April 24, with a preview scheduled for April 4 during Clarksville's First Thursday Art Walk.

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Where have APSU Art + Design alumni gone?
Ebony Walton
Meet Ebony Walton (2009)

Ebony Walton began graduate school in Fall 2022 at North Carolina State University to earn a Masters in Graphic and Experience Design.

"One thing I took away from my time at APSU is that you get back what you put into your education/career. I started APSU will a limited knowledge of design, but I was ready to learn and take on any challenge that came my way. At APSU, I started building the foundation for my career and I will forever be grateful for my professors, internship leaders, and peers."

Lorilee Rager
Meet Lorilee Rager (2001)

Lorilee Rager is founder of and Chief Creative Problem Solver at Thrive Creative Group, LLC. Her passion for design began at a young age. As a farmer’s daughter raised in Allensville, KY, Lorilee found a creative outlet in drawing and photography. Eventually, she would grow up to attend Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN where she would earn her BFA in Graphic Design.

Robb Fladry
Meet Robb Fladry (2006)

Robb currently serves as the Dean of Students at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Robb is an established designer, artist and filmmaker, working professionally for over 15 years. Robb has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including the First Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, the BEA Festival for Media Arts in Las Vegas and the Electronic Language International Festivals in Rio de Janeiro (2009) and Sao Paulo (2008).

Chase Gozy
Meet Chase Gozy (2020)

Chase Gozy is completing a Master of Fine Arts in Advertising from the Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta.

"I learned a lot at APSU about portfolio building and interview skills. A resume can only get you so far. The professional soft skills that I learned at APSU have proved to be extremely valuable in pursuing jobs and communicating with clients."

Brittney McWaters
Meet Brittney McWaters (2020)

Brittany McWaters is a Design Specialist at Murray State University.

"At APSU, I gained a huge appreciation for art history. I know often reference different art historical styles when designing promotional graphics."

Young Kim
Meet Young Kim (1995)

Young Kim received a BFA from APSU and a MFA from the University of Kentucky. He is currently Associate Professor of Photography at Elon University.

Chris Downes
Meet Chris Downes (1996)

Christopher Downes graduated with a BFA from Austin Peay in 1996 and later received a Masters Degree in Fine Art & Design from the Tasmanian School of Art in 2002. He currently works as an editorial cartoonist for The Mercury Newspaper in Hobart, Tasmania as well as regularly contributing illustrations for Crinkling News, an Australian newspaper for children. In 2015, he was awarded the Stanley Award for best editorial/political cartoonist by the Australian Cartoonists Association.

Dylan Smith
Meet Dylan Smith (2017)

Dylan Smith is the in-house Designer at Gresham Smith and a freelance designer in Nashville.

"At APSU I learned that time is precious. With so many projects constantly going on at the same time, taking advantage of every minute in your day is crucial."

Denzil Wyatt
Meet Denzil Wyatt (2020)

Denzil Wyatt is a User Experience Designer at Asurion in Nashville, TN.

"The main things I learned in the Department of Art + Design at APSU is how to communicate with clients/stakeholders, to create multiple options for every project, having specific reasons/direction for the choices in my designs, and to always continue to gain new skills."

Chloe Clark
Meet Chloe Clark (2017)

Chloe Clark is the lead graphic designer at Stable Genius Creative.

"At APSU I developed a deep understanding of typography and font combinations. I use what I learned every day."