The Department of Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts guides the skills, talents, and understanding of students in order to expand their creative abilities and worldviews. The faculty encourages artistic growth acrross numerous mediums both traditional and digital. Our programs are structured to respect the many pathways, definitions and perspectives that lead to artistic success. We believe that the process of acquiring a balanced education facilitates the understanding of individual’s identity, which in turn, forms the core of artistic and academic growth.
The department offers opportunities to study introductory through advanced courses in acting, animation, art education, art history, ceramics, digital and interactive design, digital recording, digital video, directing, drawing, game and simulation development arts, illustration, lighting, movement, music (traditional and digital), painting, photography, sculpture, stagecraft, and website arts.
For More Information
Matt Cram, M.F.A., Chair
Djwana Spradlin, Secretary
Department of Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts
Shawnee State University
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662-4344
Vern Riffe Center for the Arts
Shawnee State University’s art programs are located in the 100,000 sq. ft. Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, which houses performance spaces as well as studios for art, dance, music, and theater.
Art studios fill most of the east wing of the building with 29 rooms of dramatic natural and artificial light. The first floor houses the Levi Ceramics Suite; the photography suite; the Kahl Studio Theater, a 2,000+ square foot student theater; and nine music studio spaces. The second floor houses the Richards Virtual Listening Studio with a unique infinite baffle speaker system; the Appleton Gallery; and studios for art education, foundations, drawing, digital design, interactive design, digital music, and digital 3D. The third floor has the Howland Recital Hall; the Waller Painting Suite; and five additional studios for theater lighting, design, and printmaking. George C. Izenour and Associates designed the Center’s main theater to seat 1,139 people and to have adjustable acoustics.
Shawnee State University is proud of its state-of-the-art studios that enhance the degree program by offering the latest in lighting, safety, ventilation, and access for physically challenged artists. The north facing window walls offer indirect natural light in most of the arts studio spaces.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
The bachelor of fine arts degree is recognized as the professional degree in the arts. The BFA and the professional portfolios developed through the program may lead students to career opportunities in teaching; digital and interactive design; studio work; or museum, gallery, or corporate curation. The BFA may also offer students the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees to develop their creative and academic abilities.
The successful candidate in this program earns a multiage visual arts teaching license that qualifies them to teach art in high school or to be a middle school or elementary arts supervisor/art teacher. It does not prepare nor allow the recipient to teach general elementary school classes. Students wishing to pursue this concentration must apply to the teacher education program (see requirements on page 108). This concentration adheres to the standards set forth by NCATE (National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education) and Ohio Department of Education Rule 3301-24-02. It also meets the guidelines of the State Competency Arts Education Model in the field of visual arts. The program is generally broad in artistic scope and includes work in most studio areas.
Shawnee State has an excellent concentration in ceramics. The program has a fully equipped studio suite of six rooms, including two rooms of high-end, computer controlled gas and electric kilns and electric wheels. An emphasis on the material and understanding of three-dimensional form is at the core of this disipline. Functional and non functional ceramics are covered in great depth offering multiple avenues of study for the student to pursue.
Drawing is the heart of and most basic expression of visual art. The curriculum is designed to foster a deep sensitivity and understanding to compositional form as well as the media associated with the discipline. We encourage and expect high level skills in this core discipline, which is an excellent precursor to graduate school or a career in illustration.
Game and Simulation Development Arts
Entertainment and serious gaming is a dynamic industry with multiple avenues for creative expression. The work requires one to be sensitive to artistic trends and style as well as technically savvy. The Game & Simulation Arts program has at its core a strong traditional foundation where the student is then provided avenues for study in high-end digital 3D graphics. Students in the BFA program work with students in the BS in Simulation & Game Engineering to produce their final senior capstone project.
Painting is a core art discipline with a rich history. Preparation for figurative and non-figurative work is encouraged within this program. The development of a coherent portfolio of work is crucial to success. Our third floor Waller Painting Suite has 25-foot high north facing windows and an additional outdoor area for good-weather painting.
Photography is devoted to educating new artists in a contemporary world, where photographic imagery and new representations of media inform and define our everyday experiences. Photographs cross boundaries between culture, art, and individual personalities. Our program attempts to encourage development of the student through a range of courses from basic to advanced, historical to contemporary, analog to digital, and an array of critical concerns. Students grow through technical and creative allocations and various technologies that have redefined photographic imaging in the 21st century.
The studio arts program is for those students who want to pursue a more diverse degree with a broader set of studio experiences. The Studio Arts program is for students who seek a more broad spectrum of art education. This program emphasizes a diverse approach to studio arts, underlinging and interconnected nature of the multiple art disiplines.
Visualist Digital Design and Interactive Media
This unique program has placed many of its graduates in high-end design positions in the region. It focuses on design as process and critical thinking to give form to content. The visualist concentration treats the computer as a design environment, where students learn to convert their traditional design and color skills to the digital realm. Three high-end computer studios are equipped with the latest software and tools.
This concentration has three possible tracks. Developing an exciting portfolio for career interviews is a major focus.
- The design track concentrates on two-dimensional design and image manipulation as it applies to the graphic design industry.
- The 3D design concentrates on 3D animation art as it is used for product design/visualization, film or video.
- The interactive media track concentrates on interactive development for screen based media.
BFA Degree Requirements
General Education Program (GEP)
All bachelor’s degree students must complete the 34 semester hour General Education Program. The GEP allows students to receive a broad education outside of the major. Refer to pages 55-57 for information.
ARTS 4159 may be available for certain BFA concentrations upon approval from the fine, digital, and performing arts department chair. Information is available from the department secretary or chair.
All students applying for an art major must participate in a senior gallery exhibit. Information is available from the department secretary or chair.