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Student works on art project in Art and Design building

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.


student drawing
Foundations Portfolio Reviews are Coming!

The Foundations Portfolio Reviews happen each semester and prepare you for your transition into upper division studies in the Department of Art + Design. Is it time for you to do your review? Check in with your advisor! Sign-ups start October 7th and reviews are November 4th!

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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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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Austin Peay graphic design senior spending summer interning at renowned Chautauqua Institution
Austin Peay graphic design senior spending summer interning at renowned Chautauqua Institution

Katie Boyer - who is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at Austin Peay and last year earned APSU's inaugural Hazel Smith Summer Research Fellowship - will be a gallery assistant for Chautauqua Visual Arts (CVA) Galleries through the beginning of August.

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Austin Peay unveils online database to give public more access to university’s vast art collection
Austin Peay unveils online database to give public more access to university's vast art collection

For more than a year, the director of Austin Peay State University's art collection has worked with several students to make the school's vast collection more accessible to the public. This week, those efforts have culminated with a newly unveiled online database that allows people to search for and see the university's collected artwork.

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Storyboard artist Jordan Koch to conclude year’s CECA Visiting Artist Speaker Series
Storyboard artist Jordan Koch to conclude year's CECA Visiting Artist Speaker Series

Koch, an artist in Nickelodeon's animated series "The Loud House," will complete the 2021-22 series season. He will also conduct a storyboard workshop with our animation students.

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Where have APSU Art + Design alumni gone?
Lorilee Rager
Meet Lorilee Rager

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

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 Sau Paulo (2008).

Alexander Wurts
Meet Alexander Wurts

Alexander Wurts is a digital and interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Eugene, OR. He graduated from Austin Peay State University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Program in 2014. After graduating, he went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts from University of Oregon. He is a currently a Co-Director at artist-run installation space Ditch Projects in Springfield, Oregon. His work can be viewed online at http://alexanderwurts.com/

Young Kim
Meet Young Kim

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

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.