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Visual and Performing Arts

At JMU our visual and performing arts students are trained in traditional practices and new approaches and technologies.

Our graduates shine because they receive excellent artistic training and also learn to use the distinctive way artists think in real world problem solving.

Visual and performing arts at JMU are all about artistic expression and creative thinking. Learn more at

Students work in a JMU art studio.

Special application requirements

To pursue a major in the arts, you must make an additional application to the program and meet additional requirements. This includes a portfolio review or audition, personal interview and letters of recommendation.  Details may be found here.


  • 220,000 people have attended over 1,700 performances in the breathtaking Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, the region's premier performance facility.
  • Our Forbes Center for the Performing Arts houses five performance venues specially designed for student, faculty and guest performances.
  • Both student and professional art exhibitions take place at a variety of galleries on campus. One of which, artWorks Gallery, is entirely student-run.
  • All of our students work in state-of-the-art facilities alongside faculty and visiting professional artists. Recent visits from celebrities include Patti LuPone, Bobby McFerrin, Bruce Hornsby, Ailey II, Peter Plagens, Garrison Keillor and Jefferson Pinder.
  • Our students learn a variety of skills transferrable to any and all careers: critical thinking, discipline, rigor, innovation, teambuilding, creativity, empathy, self-reflection and citizenship (a tenant core to James Madison, the U.S.'s fourth president.)
  • Our students are engaged in cross-disciplinary learning and study abroad. Partnerships include engineers working with designers and entreprensures. Current study abroad activities include Opera in Freiburg, Gernay and a Dance-China exchange program with Chendu University.

What do our professors say?

Professor Amadi Azikiwe tutors a viola student.I take very seriously the idea that the teacher should be a teacher and a mentor and an example. I have seen that from my own teachers, and I am sincere when I think that it's just as important to lead by example as it is to be able to say, 'You're out of tune here' or 'you need to use more bow there.'

- Amadi Azikiwe, viola professor