Go back
Carousel background image.

Art: Concentration Studio Art

Total Credit Hours
Full-Time Faculty
ApplySearch for FacultyFind a Program

Why study Art: Concentration Studio Art at APSU?

To major in Art + Design is to become a visual problem solver. To major in Art + Design is to join an exciting community. Activities are ongoing in the department as students are in the classrooms from 8am to midnight. We have worked hard to keep one of our computer labs open for student use so that students do not need to purchase their own laptops and software. We have an enviable exhibition and speaker series, and all Art + Design majors are required to attend two talks per semester, but most students attend several once they discover how inspiring the speakers are.


In the first year, students are introduced to the methods and materials of artistic thinking through a series of Foundations courses in two, three, and four-dimensions. In these courses, students explore the visual world through drawing, computer software, and other hands-on experiences. This beginning sequence of classes are designed to provide all incoming students with a strong footing for conceptual and technical skills that combine old and new technologies. Even in the digital age, drawing will train the eye of the artist more than the hands. When students complete the foundations classes, they will need to successfully complete a portfolio review to progress to the capstone classes at the end of their study. 

In the second year, students begin their Art History courses in order to build a mental database of global artworks from which to draw inspiration. This is the year that students begin to explore specific disciplines like Animation, Ceramics, Drawing, Graphic Design, Illustration, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Art Education. Each student will complete four of these introductory classes to broadly understand the options of art making in the 21st century. But Graphic Design, Studio Art, and Animation and Visual Effects are the only concentrations, so students will work in a combination of disciplines as they complete our programs.

In the third year, students will focus on particular areas of interest by taking more advanced classes within the disciplines. Students will also select more specific interests in Art History by selecting advanced study in Italian Renaissance, Modern Art in Europe, Contemporary Art, or Native American Art for example. In the third year, concepts will become more advanced and students will find themselves comfortable thinking like artists.

In the fourth year, students will complete two semester sequences of capstone courses. For Studio Art, the capstone sequence will prepare students for professional development in the gallery system. Students will learn how to apply for exhibitions, how to write a resume, and how to assemble an art portfolio while also working independently on a body of work to be shown the following semester. In the final semester, Studio Art majors have small group exhibitions of their thesis work in the Barbara Beach Student Gallery. Graphic Design students spend the first semester preparing a professional portfolio and practice job interview skills. In the final semester, Graphic Design students create a fictitious company for which they come up with logos, letterhead, posters, advertisements, and "swag" that is presented publicly at a conference-like Showcase. Animation and Visual Effects students will learn what it means to work in a production studio. Art Education students spend the last two semesters observing teachers and student teaching in completion of their K-12 licensure.


What will I learn?

You will gain the skills necessary to implement a concept through technique, material, or a discipline specific strategy.

You will develop a personal style or vision and execute it across a variety of media, ideas, and creative activities through critical making and critical analysis.

You will gain the writing and communication skills necessary to effectively translate your personal style into a focused relevant conversation about your own work and the work of others.

You will gain a knowledge of significant works and movements in the canon of world art and design, which includes both formal and iconographic styles.

You will develop advanced comprehension of focused topics in art and design history as a context for your professional creative practice.

You will learn how to be a participant in the creative economy.

The Freshmen Seminar degree requirement completed by most students is APSU 1000. The course is delivered in a small-class setting with like-minded students led by a faculty member and a peer leader. The interdisciplinary course is intended to support first-semester students and provide them with a foundation for university success. Emphasis is placed on student engagement, university learning success strategies, support services, library literacy, financial literacy, and academic and career planning. The first class meeting of APSU 1000 during fall semesters is on Freshmen Convocation Day.

The general education core is designed to develop critical competencies in written communication, oral communication, mathematical analysis, and critical thinking skills. Students at APSU select coursework in the general education core in the areas of Communication, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, History, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. While the general education core requirements for graduation can be met by choosing courses from each of these areas, some programs of study require lower division courses that serve as prerequisites for upper division courses. Students should consult the sample 4-year plans and confer with their academic advisors as they choose their general education core courses.

What engagement opportunities are available to APSU students?

The Department of Art + Design is the home to the Iota Beta Chapter of Kappa Pi International Art Honor Society.

ART 440I Art Internship provides graphic design students with on-the-job training with professionals working in the field.

Dr. Tamara Smithers and Professor Ken Shipley offer alternating study abroad trips to Italy in the summer. Dr. Smithers takes groups to Rome to study Italian Renaissance art and architecture and Professor Shipley takes groups to Tuscany to study ceramics.

What do Art: Concentration Studio Art majors do after graduation?

The sky is the limit for professionals with degrees in art. 

  • Artist
  • Painter
  • Sculptor
  • Printmaker
  • Animator
  • Illustrator
  • New Media Artist
  • Ceramicist
  • Gallery Director
  • Curator
  • Critic
  • Cartoonist
  • Storyboard Illustrator
  • Entrepreneur
  • Photographer

Art major Vega creates steerable cardboard chair

“I kinda went a bit overboard," he said about his Foundations Studio II class project

As he puts it, the chair took “lots of hours and dedication.”

“I even burned myself in the process while also cutting myself accidentally countless of times,” Vega said.

The chair has a spinning umbrella, a steering feature, pedals and, of course, wheels. The chair rolls and turns.

“Art is my passion, above anything, above math, above science,” Vega said. “I really like it when someone sees my work and are, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s so cool!’”