From the first days of the Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg, when art was taught in the context of the manual and industrial arts, to James Madison University’s current Decade of the Arts, the theory and practice of the visual arts has been important to the pedagogical mission at JMU. Today the School of Art, Design and Art History joins the School of Music and the School of Theatre and Dance in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The college embodies a community of the arts with unprecedented potential.
The School of Art, Design and Art History is truly a collaborative community that fosters independent thought and creativity, as our mission states. The accumulation of thoughtful pedagogy, scholarship, and practice in the arts at JMU amounts to enormous success. But it is not simply the success that we celebrate. It is the transformation of material to expression; of student to artist, designer, teacher, and scholar; it is the recognition of the power of visual art to inspire the imagination and illuminate the human condition.
In the School of Art, Design and Art History today, more than fifty talented faculty and staff serve over six hundred majors studying architectureal design, art history, art education, studio art, graphic design and industrial design. The school’s programs are fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The school has a strong commitment to general education and serves a broad population of the JMU student community in achieving an understanding of the significance of artistic expression in diverse cultures within a complex, contemporary global society. The development of the school’s programs encompasses more than one hundred years of history and innovation on the part of the school’s leaders and faculty members, and the ambitions and creativity of its students.
Take some time to explore the School of Art, Design and Art History website pages to discover the excitement of the visual arts at James Madison University. I invite you to visit the campus in person to participate in our many exhibitions and lecture programs, tour the facilities and meet our faculty and students.
Dr. Katherine Schwartz
Director of School of Art, Design and Art History