Apr 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Fine, Digital & Performing Arts

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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, 3D animation, art education, art history, ceramics, graphic design, digital recording, directing, drawing, game and simulation development arts, illustration, movement, music (traditional and digital), painting, photography, stagecraft, and website design.

Contact Information

Dr. Michael Barnhart
Department Chair

Brianna Mullen-Hayes
Academic Administrative Assistant

Department of Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts
Shawnee State University
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662-4344
(740) 351-3118


Programs in Fine, Digital, and Performing Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

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. Requirements for each program is listed on the individual program page.

General Education Program (GEP)

All BFA students must complete the General Education Program plus the senior capstone. The GEP allows students to receive a broad education outside of the major.


ARTS4159 may be available for certain BFA concentrations upon approval from the department chair. Information is available from the department secretary or chair.

Senior Show

All students applying for a BFA must participate in a senior gallery exhibit. Information is available from the department secretary or chair.

Portfolio Review

Students applying for a BFA may be asked, to submit a portfolio in order to be admitted into the junior year of their program. Only those students who pass this assessment of their portfolio are permitted to continue in the program.


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, design, 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 Media Room; 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. George C. Izenour and Associates designed the Center’s main theater to seat 1,139 people and to have adjustable acoustics.



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