Art & Design Department FAQs – Asbury University
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Art & Design Department FAQs

What is the Art & Design Department’s Mission?

The mission of the Asbury University Art & Design Department is to challenge and equip those who will advance and practice the visual arts, providing the foundation for a lifetime of theological, theoretical and artistic practice.

God proves in his Word that he values creativity and community, and we want to as well. We want our students to work, grow and learn together, fostering enthusiastic visual expression: culturally aware and able to articulate that awareness and familiarity with critical, philosophical, theological and practical facets of art and design. “Advancing” art is more than creating it; it involves appreciating and supporting it as well.


What can I do with an Art major?

Art is an incredibly diverse and far-reaching degree. Students can start out right after graduation, or have the foundation for further studies, in the following fields:

  • Art Editor or Consultant
  • Museum / Institutional / Independent Curator
  • Gallery Owner, Manager or Director
  • Collection Archivist
  • Art Educator
  • Art Advocate
  • Art Auctioneer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Photographer
  • Art Historian
  • Entrepreneur
  • Art Therapist
  • Art Critic
  • Interior Designer
  • Landscape Architect
  • Museum Docent
  • Studio Artist

…among any number of other callings involving deliberate and informed visual decision-making.

Why should I study Art at Asbury?

  • Small classes.
  • Strong Foundations, Art History, Design and Studio courses with liberal arts and faith perspectives throughout.
  • Approachable, friendly, challenging, well-informed, well-read, highly motivated, sought-after, widely exhibited and interesting faculty who hold degrees in the discipline they teach.
  • There is always coffee brewing in the Art & Design Department!
  • There is a sense of community here. We are not so HUGE that we do not know each other’s names. The sharing of our work together is part of what brings us closer.
  • Individual studios for junior and senior art majors, as space allows.
  • Critique Sessions –  You exercise critical judgment of your and others’ works in regular directed study critique sessions.
  • Senior Exhibit – As a studio art student, you mount a solo exhibition of a body of work in the college gallery or other designated on-campus space.
  • Senior Art History Presentations – By completing the art history emphasis, you publicly present research at the annual art history symposium on-campus or at a local museum or gallery; you also may choose to guest-curate a show on-campus or off-campus.
  • Senior Seminar – You are given this seminar as a part of the curriculum hands-on training in professional exhibition and documentation. Portfolio preparation and plans for relevant graduate education and career opportunities are also explored.
  • Faculty Mentoring – As an art student, you can enjoy exceptional mentoring via contained class sizes, faculty advisors, Sophomore and Junior Review, and weekly directed study meetings with professors during your junior and senior years.
  • Art Trips – You can take advantage of regularly scheduled departmental trips to major art collections in Lexington, Cincinnati, Louisville, Washington, D.C., and New York. You also can study art in Paris and explore world-renowned art collections, castles and cathedrals in the Loire Valley and within Paris itself.
  • Our Surrounding Landscape – Asbury University is surrounded by the beautiful Bluegrass Region of central Kentucky where rock fences, winding roads and wide open spaces abound. We are less than 15 minutes from cultural events and important art collections to view and study. It is the perfect balance of rural, unspoiled beauty with cultural centrality that makes Asbury a great place to study and practice art!

What is the coursework like?

  • As an Asbury student, you take core liberal arts courses that give a strong base for your major studies and set the stage for life-long learning with a perspective that includes our redemptive Creator. As an art major, you are exposed to a strong foundation in Art History and fundamental design principles. You are then introduced to a variety of media on a basic level, from which you choose one to emphasize.
  • After choosing an emphasis, you deepen your skills and widen your perspective through directed studies that provide one-on-one interaction with faculty. This is done to prepare for the senior exhibit which gives that chance to plan and execute a solo exhibit.
  • As an Art Education student, you take studio courses that will enhance what you will do in the classroom. This is in addition to the education curriculum that prepares you professionally. You also do a senior exhibit like all art majors.

Graduate School & Career Preparation

  • Asbury art students enjoy a high rate of acceptance into graduate programs of their choice (see listing below).
  • The required Senior Seminar course addresses career and grad school planning and encourages an individualized plan.
  • In-house Student Resource Room archives up-to-date career and grad school planning materials.
  • All majors are given experiential training in approaches to gallery presentation methods and materials, in the form of a course that includes a group show of student work, organized entirely by students.
  • Internships are encouraged and in some cases required.

Where have Asbury Art Students gone to Graduate School?

  • Indiana University
  • Yale University School of Art
  • University of Kentucky
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of St. Andrews
  • University of Tennessee
  • Slade School of Fine Art—London
  • Columbia University
  • George Washington University
  • School of Visual Arts (New York)
  • Savannah College of Art & Design
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Azusa Pacific University

What are some of Asbury’s alumni doing?

  • Kristin Richards ’11—Graduated with a degree in Art and was accepted in the highly competitive Master of Fine Arts in Painting at Yale University.
  • Travis Shaffer ’06—Travis is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of PhotoMedia at the University of Kansas and has participated in numerous exhibitions and artist book fairs throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Shaffer is also a member of the Artists’ Books Cooperative, a group of international artists working with Print-on-Demand technologies.
  • Stefan Bean ’04— Has worked with Inc 500/5000 clients and startups as a graphic designer for Tactic Marketing in Indiana, on both print and web related projects including identity development, brand management, print design, website design and user experience design.
  • Tommy Frank ’02—A degree in Art from Asbury prepared Tommy with a grounded sense of self before entering the full-time Art world after graduation. He was competitive for national artist-in-residence programs, being awarded three around the country. He went on to complete his Master of Fine Arts degree in Ceramics at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and is presently working as the Studio Manager for Red Star Studios in Kansas City, Missouri while continuing to exhibit his work nationally.
  • Mandy Cano Villalobos ’01—is Assistant Professor, Art and Art History at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. She exhibits her work throughout the continental US. Cano earned her MFA from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
  • Darrell Kincer ’99—is Assistant Professor of Art teaching in the areas of Digital Media and Photography since 2007. Darrell went on to receive his MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design in 2002.
  • Mark V. Robinson—Currently the Art Director in the Proposal Development Center of a large scientific, engineering and technology applications company, having previously served there as a Senior Graphic Designer. Prior to that, he worked for several years as a freelance illustrator and as an Adjunct Professor at the Community College level, teaching classes in Graphic Design and Illustration. Earlier in his career he worked as a Graphic Artist in both the corporate world and also the Exhibit and Display industry.

We have many other alumni in grad school, teaching art (at all age levels), raising children, running art programs, working as professional photographers, graphic designers, curating exhibits, making art, etc. We have had students and alumni working with and for the following:

Martin Barker Design, Inc. | Fly Creative, Inc | New York Center for Art and Media Studies (NYCAMS) | LV Harkness & Co. | National Geographic Travel Channel | Pulse Creative Partners | University of Kentucky | Kentucky State Government | Kentucky Historical Society |

What is unique about our program that makes it stand out from similar programs at other colleges/universities?

Our passion is for you to grow as an individual within the corporate and communal Body of Christ. Our mission is to provide a foundation for theological, theoretical and artistic practice. We strive to fold in our appreciation of art with our desire to know the Creator Himself. Not only is the process of our work important, but also how the content reflects the larger, invisible realities of our universe and our experience in it. All of our faculty strive to show how art is a vehicle for the realization of such intangibles as much as it is to show something tangible.

We see art as a vital part of human expression; humans cannot adequately express themselves without it. We strive to create an environment that encourages vibrant community. We value visual expression to foster your authentic and compelling reflection of the Creator’s Redemptive Idea.

These goals are evident in the kinds of things we do. For example, we take an annual trip to well-known museums and galleries in either New York City or Washington D.C. to experience important works of art and culture first-hand. We travel semi-annually to Paris, France, and the surrounding country-side to visit and study in museums, cathedrals and chateaus. We also take advantage of regional art destinations such as museums, galleries, art fairs, lectures and outdoor nature destinations. Travel is an important part of the learning process.

We also have required department-wide critiques in which you are able to view and respond to individual student work. As a major, you will exhibit your work in solo or group shows as a part of your graduation requirements.

All this happens in the middle of the beautiful Bluegrass Region, known worldwide for its horses and horse farms—an inspiring backdrop for learning to appreciate and respond to God’s beauty.

What has the Art & Design Department been up to lately?

  • Four students were accepted in the 2009 University Open Exhibit, featuring the best artwork from dozens of regional University- and College-level Art programs.
  • Numerous alumni have had work published: Joel Klepac had woodcuts published as a part of the book by Shane Claiborn entitled, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan, 2010).
  • Students are regularly recognized in the Photographer’s Forum Annual College Photo Contests.
  • Our own Dr. Stratford is co-founder of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA).
  • Our Faculty regularly show their work and have artwork in permanent public and private collections.

How many students are currently in the major?

We typically have around 50 majors (including Art Education [P–12]) and around 20 minors. There are other students who “claim” our department as their own, though their major studies are in another.

Are there any areas of emphasis?

  • Studio Art – painting, stained glass, drawing, printmaking, sculpture
  • Art History
  • Graphic Design
  • Photography & Digital Imaging
  • Ceramics

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