College of Visual and Performing Arts


Academic Units Within the College


School of Art, Design and Art History

Dr. William H. K. Wightman, Academic Unit Head


School of Music

Dr. Jeffrey Bush, Academic Unit Head


School of Theatre and Dance

Dr. Terry Brino-Dean, Academic Unit Head


Graduate Programs

The College of Visual and Performing Arts provides the following graduate programs:



Mission Statement
The College of Visual and Performing Arts is founded on the belief that artistic expression reveals the essential nature and diversity of human experience. Embracing traditional practices as well as contemporary approaches and technologies, the College provides a stimulating environment in which students create, perform, interpret, research, teach and think critically about the arts. The College actively supports creative and scholarly endeavors, collaboration between faculty and students, and interdisciplinary exchange. We are committed to making the arts an integral part of the life of the university and advancing their visibility, accessibility and understanding throughout the region and the world.


The programs in the college are committed to achieving the following common objectives:
To prepare students to be articulate, effective, and inspiring performers, educators, creators, scholars and professionals in the arts.


  • To attain recognition and leadership in the arts at the regional, national and global levels.
  • To enhance, develop and sustain undergraduate and graduate programs of distinction.
  • To support cultural, aesthetic and intellectual diversity, and to foster interdisciplinary exchange.
  • To offer students instruction and learning experiences that incorporate the latest technology, research and practices.
  • To engage the surrounding community as an active partner in promoting and experiencing the arts.


Resources and Events


artWorks Gallery

(540) 568-6918


The artWorks Gallery features rotating exhibits of JMU undergraduate and graduate student work. The gallery is managed by students in the School of Art, Design and Art History. The gallery is located a short walk from Duke Hall on the second floor of 131 Grace Street, JMU, Harrisonburg, VA. The artWorks Gallery is a curricular component of the School of Art, Design and Art History.


Forbes Center for the Performing Arts
Executive Director: Ms. Regan Byrne

(540) 568-7000


Comprised of the Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theatre and Dance and the Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance, the Forbes Center houses five state-of-the-art performance venues: the Mainstage Theatre (450 seats), the Concert Hall (600 seats), the Recital Hall (196 seats) the Studio Theatre (200 seats) and the Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theatre (200 seats).


The center is home to the Masterpiece Season, featuring a variety of cultural events for JMU and the entire community. The schools of Art, Design and Art History; Music; and Theatre and Dance all take an active role in this series. The season also includes the Encore and Family Series featuring visiting artists such as Imago Theatre, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Bobby McFerrin, Denyce Graves, Victor Ekpuk, and Alex Bay.


Institute for Visual Studies
Director: Dr. David Ehrenpreis

(540) 568-5656


The Institute for Visual Studies is a center for scholarly, scientific and creative inquiry into the nature and workings of images. An incubator of new ideas, the institute fosters discovery, and the generation of artworks, products, and applications by multidisciplinary teams of students and faculty. The Institute for Visual Studies is a collaboration of faculty representing all colleges at the university. It is located in Roop Hall, room 208.


Madison Art Collection
Director: Dr. Kathryn Stevens

(540) 568-6934


The Madison Art Collection provides unique opportunities for students, faculty and the surrounding community to learn about a wide range of world cultures through the exploration of its collection of over 35,000 objects. Exhibitions, class projects and special programming allow public access to the areas of collection strength, which include funerary objects from ancient Egypt, ceramics and glassware from classical Greece and Rome, West African masks and textiles, Russian icons, Japanese Edo prints, and Russian icons. The Madison Art Collection also houses a significant collection of European and American objects, such as letters and manuscripts from King George I of England, Florence Nightingale and Victor Hugo as well as the archive of American Emmy award-winning production designer Charles Lisanby, the only artistic designer to be inducted in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame. Scholars may apply for access to study Madison Art Collection objects at the Charles Lisanby Center, located in the Festival Conference and Student Center.


The Madison Art Collection has two exhibition venues, both located in the Festival Conference and Student Center. The Lisanby Museum showcases exhibits drawn from the permanent collection and uses technological applications such as smart device applications and QR codes to allow visitors to craft their experience with the objects. Prism Gallery and Prism International exhibit works emphasizing aspects of diversity, including areas of culture, religion, gender and sexuality.


New Image Gallery

(540) 568-6918


New Image Gallery is a professional photography gallery featuring contemporary photography of regional and national significance. New Image Gallery is located on the second floor of 131 Grace Street, JMU, Harrisonburg, VA. New Image Gallery is a curricular component of the School of Art, Design and Art History.


Sawhill Gallery
Director: Dr. Gary Freeburg

(540) 568-6918


Sawhill Gallery is a professional art gallery featuring changing exhibitions of international, national and regional significance. In addition to providing exhibitions of contemporary art, a hallmark of the gallery's mission is to demonstrate art's multicultural and interdisciplinary dynamic. Sawhill Gallery is located in Warren Hall, Fourth floor. Sawhill Gallery is a curricular component of the School of Art, Design and Art History.