Walk into the CSU art building past 10 p.m. and there will probably still be some students covered in paint, pastels and clay, working on semester projects. But with the set up available to art students, that’s not such a hard thing to believe.
With a different studio for each concentration the program offers, the Art Department is dedicated to creating an environment that helps students produce the best work they can while helping them prepare for their futures.
Darlene Meeker, an art education graduate seeking a fine arts degree in pottery, said that with smaller class sizes, open studio times and instructors dedicated to advancing their students, the department has become its own community.
“I get to come in here to this studio and go in my own zone and express who I am in a totally different way,” Meeker said. “It’s different from writing a paper or sitting down and having a conversation.”
Art classes are on average much smaller compared to the rest of the university, which helps build a sense of community in the department.
“Class sizes are usually around 15 to 18 students,” said Patrick Fahey, the department chair. “Students aren’t going to be stuck in lecture halls here.”
Sahey said that students benefit from the smaller classes by having the same teachers and classmates for more than one class, which in turn helps to build more personal relationships.
“With the small class sizes, students may have the same teacher for certain classes four semesters in a row,” he said. “That helps to build a kind of camaraderie you don’t get in a lecture class.”
Besides building relationships, Fahey said that the department also tries to get students to explore many of the areas of art rather than just their one concentration.
“Our freshmen take art foundations classes, and we ask that our sophomores explore at least four different studio areas,” he said. “Then the junior and senior years are for their specialized concentrations.”
Meeker said that while pottery is her discipline of choice, she incorporated other art forms into her work as well.
“Pottery is my number one love, but I also like to paint,” she said. “And when I do glazing work on my pots, I can incorporate the painting into my pieces”
The department is also committed to preparing students for success after graduation. Fahey said students get help on anything from building a resume and portfolio to creating a database where they can get supplies.
“We try to look at what a beginning artist would be doing after they graduate,” he said. “For some, it’s developing a portfolio and some of the areas translate into job opportunities more quickly.”
Fahey said that if nothing else, he hopes students will take with them some kind of ties to the department after they graduate.
“I want students to come away with a sense that they were challenged,” Fahey said. “Also that they developed strong relationships with other students and faculty members.”
Staff writer Kris Cote can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.