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Visual and performing arts at JMU are all about creating artists for the real world. Learn more about arts admissions at

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 leverage artistic expression and creative thinking.

Students work in a JMU art studio.


  • Our students learn a variety of skills transferrable to any and all careers: critical thinking, discipline, teambuilding, communication, innovation, creativity, empathy, self-reflection, and citizenship.
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities and student research are cultivated in all three schools. Examples include the student-run Studio Theatre and ArtWorks gallery, student-produced music series in a local retirement community, and undergraduate research grants for cutting edge projects.
  • All of our students work in state-of-the-art facilities.  Our Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, the regions premier performance facility, houses five beautiful performance venues specifically designed for student, faculty, and guest performances.  Art exhibitions take place at a variety of galleries on campus, showcasing the work of freshmen through seasoned professionals.
  • All CVPA guest artists engage with our students in master classes or other curricular enhancements. Recent visits include Patti LuPone, Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Bruce Hornsby, Ailey II, Moscow Ballet, Peter Plagens, Garrison Keillor and Jefferson Pinder.
  • Our students are engaged in cross-disciplinary learning. The Madison Art Collection and the Institute for Visual Studies offer classes of interest to a variety of majors. Partnerships include engineers working with designers and entrepreneurs.
  • Arts students can take advantage of a variety of study abroad activities. Programs include traditional full semester programs in London (Theatre) or Florence (Art), as well as shorter, specialized opportunities like Opera in Freiburg, Germany, Architectural Design in Japan, or Dance projects at an orphanage in Russia.

Music alumn Omar Thomas visits the JMU Forbes Center

'JMU’s School of Music wasn’t just about the music. The JMU experience is about growing. It’s about surviving growing pains and being at a school that gives you the freedom to have growing pains.'

Omar Thomas (’06), Assistant Professor for Boston’s Berklee College of Music

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