About the School of Art
The School of Art at the University of Tennessee has a strong national reputation and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Courses are taught by our internationally known faculty who conduct a high level of research and creative activity. On the undergraduate level, the School offers curricula leading to the Bachelor of Arts (majors in Art History and Art); the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art; and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. These programs prepare students to pursue graduate work or a variety of career options including fine artist, graphic designer, photographer, digital/media artist, gallery director, museum administrator, arts administrator, public school teacher, and college instructor.
Undergraduate majors in the school enjoy the advantages of small art classes augmented by the benefits of a large university with its wealth of activities and course selections. The school takes seriously its role of guiding students toward individual creative and educational fulfillment.
Faculty in the School includes artists, designers and art historians of national and international stature. The Artist-in-Residence Program and the Visiting Artists, Designers and Scholars Program further enhance the teaching environment by featuring prominent individuals who work with students in a variety of venues.
The School of Art has an active exhibition program supported by the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture and the University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery, which host major exhibitions of work by national and international artists. The School also maintains Tennessee’s only student run, non-profit exhibition space, Gallery 1010. Both University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery and Gallery 1010 are located off campus in the heart of the Knoxville downtown art district.
What is Art – Studio Art (B.A.)?
The B.A. major in Art is intended for students who wish a broad liberal arts education combined with an emphasis in art. Areas of study include ceramics, drawing, 4D, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Students must pass area progression requirements to take advanced (300-400 level) courses. Please consult area faculty for progression requirements specific to that area.
Drawing offers diverse and exploratory approaches to image making including representational, abstract, process, life drawing, and watercolor. Painting emphasizes that students develop a rigorous studio practice and offers studios for upper level majors. Painting and drawing supports a different artist-in-residence each semester, deliberately chosen to ensure that students have access to a wide range of contemporary sensibilities. Photography has a both a state of the art digital lab and traditional b/w processing and printing.
Printmaking provides a complete studio experience with courses in intaglio, lithography, relief and monotype, papermaking and screen-prints, including mono-print, combination of print and non-print methods and photo-print processes.
Ceramics provides instruction and training for students interested in clay as an art form. The curriculum in ceramics addresses functional and sculptural work, new technologies, and ceramic history. Sculpture consists of a variety of courses: some are media-specific; such as steel sculpture (welding) or metal casting; some are thematic such as figure modeling; and other courses are for general development of sculptural ideas. 4D Arts provides instruction and training for students interested in time-based mediums as an art form. With an emphasis on creativity, as well as technical virtuosity, students produce works of art using cinematography, digital media, installation, and performance, sound, animation, and video art.
Career Opportunities in Art – Studio Art (B.A.)
As in any fine arts field, students pursue a visual arts degree because of a strong philosophical commitment to a life of productive creativity. The skills and training in arts courses, however, can be applied to specific fields of commercial endeavor. Ceramicists often apply their art to the creation of utilitarian vessels. Drawing and Painting majors may practice in such fields as advertising, animation, fashion, cartoon art, medical illustration, courtroom sketching, or as a professional artist. The technology training in media courses allows students to learn skills and techniques such as digital editing, digital imaging, film production and sound realization that may lead to positions in professional production studios and other related businesses. Photography may lead to other opportunities. More than half of the photographers whose income derives from photography are self-employed. They specialize in commercial, portrait photography or photojournalism. Because of the social nature of the printshop, many printmaking graduates gain their teaching certification to be art instructors. Some students combine printmaking skills to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator. Other career paths include fine arts printing or operating a letterpress shop. Those trained in sculpture have found employment as furniture designers, architectural model builder, product designer, theater set designer, jewelry designer and product designer.
Salary Trends in Art – Studio Art (B.A.)
Students who gain teaching certification in studio art are paid an average of $35,000 a year at the entry level. If one is employed in the media industry, entry level salaries may range from $30,000 to $40,000, depending on the skill level of the employee. Those who pursue M.F.A degrees and become professors have starting salaries ranging from $40,000 to $50,000. Salaries for free-lance artists vary widely depending upon their work and the art market.
High School Preparation
Work on a well-rounded curriculum in math, science, history, language and literature. Take a variety of art courses offered in school but also take advantage of other resources in your community: art classes at workshops offered by museums, arts organizations, educational enrichment programs. Make a habit of seeing exhibitions in your community and while traveling. Organize an art club; invite speakers to your school. Work on the yearbook and newspaper in your school. Being involved in student organizations and publications will prepare you not only to work with visual arts materials, but will give you opportunities to work with others on collaborative projects. Subscribe to or read art journals such as Artforum, Artist in America or Art Papers and actively engage the numerous art forums that are available online. Artists are concerned about the relationship of art to society, so classes in the social sciences should be a priority for your academic work. Many students today also find connections between the sciences and art. Additionally, creative writing and the study of literature can play a central role in the development of your art.
How to Major in Art (B.A.)
Before you may progress into the program as a major, you must take Art 101 and 103 (a two-course sequence in two- or three-dimensional design) and an art history survey (Art History 172, 173, 183 or 162). Students are then admitted in rank order of cumulative average as space allows. During the first year, students also usually take Art 102, a course in four-dimensional design, and a second art history survey. During the second year, you will progress to 200-level classes and choose a concentration. Students must meet all progression requirements in their area, which may vary. Make an schedule an early university orientation for the best course placement.
Prerequisites to the major include Art 101, 103, 102 and Art History 162, 172, 173, 183 (any two) and 3 additional hours of Art History.
The Studio Art major consists of 30 hours of studio courses numbered 200 and above, including a minimum of fifteen hours in 300-400 level studio courses.
Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is affiliated with UT. Forty miles east of the UT campus and two miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Arrowmont is an internationally known visual arts complex renowned for its intensive one-and two-week spring and summer workshops in many media. Weekend and week-long workshops are available in October. Courses may be taken in the spring and summer for UT credit. Internship opportunities are available for Graphic Design majors, Museum Studies students and Printmaking students. Print Club UTK is an active student printmaking organization. A highlight of each year is a club sponsored Printshop Open House and fundraiser to help students attend the annual Southern Graphics Council Conference.
The UT Potters Club holds a sale each semester, some profits of which help students attend the annual conference of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts. The AIGA Student Group of the American Institute of Graphic Arts invites guest speakers, arranges field trips and community outreach. The Sculpture Club works with other organizations to bring visiting artists to campus, facilitates workshops, attends conferences, plans field trips and maintains the Reese Sculpture Collection on campus. The club also organizes community outreach events such as iron pours. The Visual Arts Committee is a university student organization that brings in visiting artists and organizes exhibitions in the UC Center. SOMA is a club for time-based art interested students. They are active in organizing the Handheld Festival at the end of every semester at the Regal Downtown West Theater, an international media festival and exhibition INSTA, and sponsor time-based artists on campus.
The School encourages students to have experiences beyond the University, preferably prior to portfolio review. Opportunities include national and international student exchange programs, artist residencies, internships, and the many study abroad programs offered throught the School of Art and other departments.
Highlights of Art – Studio Art (B.A.)
We are housed in the expansive Art and Architecture Building, four floors dedicated to architecture and the fine arts. There are lecture spaces and classrooms with multimedia capability, well-equipped design labs, film and video labs, a media pool, spacious sculpture and ceramic spaces, accommodating painting and drawing studios, and one of the finest printmaking facilities in the nation. The Ewing Gallery, located in the Art and Architecture Building, and the Downtown Gallery, recently opened in downtown Knoxville, schedule approximately twenty-four exhibitions each year. These support the galleries’ mission to sponsor exhibitions representative of current attitudes in art, to support the academic goals of the various disciplines taught in the School of Art and to serve as a resource for the university and regional communities. Gallery 1010, a student gallery curated by students, is located in downtown Knoxville. Exhibitions are scheduled by a School of Art student advisory committee. Our Visiting Artist program introduces diverse and important artists to students. In addition, Painting and Drawing’s Artist-in-Residence program brings an important painter to the UT campus each semester.
Ready for the World
“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century. Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus. Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings. Visit the Center for International Education website or the Ready for the World web site website for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.
Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.
Experience Learning is a bold new initiative with the goal of transforming the educational student experience at the University of Tennessee. Over a five-year period, UT will transform our culture to give students more opportunities to be involved in civic engagement, solve complex real-world problems, and contribute to the welfare of their communities as part of their regular course work.
The purpose of Experience Learning is to help students apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom to real-world challenges. Experience Learning also seeks to engage student learning through direct experience and intense reflection to increase knowledge, acquire lifelong learning and problem-solving skills, and elucidate values.
Learn more about Experience Learning.
Academic Plan and Milestones
Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.
To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.
For More Information
School of Art Handbook
School of Art Office
213 Art & Architecture Building
The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.