Augustana’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts builds on strong arts curriculum

May 16, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by Augustana University.

Augustana University art students will be able to pursue a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree starting this fall, offering an enhanced track for students entering creative industries.

“We have a fabulous track record of liberal arts students going on to be studio artists, but we see the student choosing the B.F.A. as the student who wants to fast-track professional opportunities such as going on to a Master of Fine Arts, and it will be the track for students who want to leave with a deeper portfolio,” said department chair Lindsay Twa.

Similar to Augustana’s existing Bachelor of Arts program, candidates will select at least one emphasis area from the seven offered: ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking or sculpture.

Courses specific to the major will be available for current and future students starting this fall. The first cohort of majors will graduate in spring 2021. With a thriving B.A. in art program, many current students have already taken some of the required courses with such regular faculty as John Peters, Scott Parsons, Gerry Punt, Anna Reich, Tom Shields and Twa.

“It’s been a longtime dream to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts,” Twa said. “And the opportunity truly felt right when we became Augustana University. We’re fully embracing our liberal arts roots, but as we now offer many more graduate and professional programs, it seemed like the moment was right to launch this professional art degree program.”

The program is both intersecting and tailored, she added, so students will be exposed to a broad-based liberal arts education in their first two years and apply to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program during the sophomore year.

“Augustana is committed to fostering great thinkers and innovative problem-solvers,” said Dr. Colin Irvine, dean of the university and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Offering this degree reinforces our commitment to adaptable learning and preparing our students for success as they enter their industries post-graduation.”

Students in the B.F.A. program also will take a professional practices class in their senior year to help them learn the business side of being an artist and prepare them to apply for grants or enter graduate school.

“We want them to leave here with those organizational skills that are absolutely necessary to surviving as a creative person out in the world,” Twa said.

Augustana’s other bachelor of arts tracks within the art department prepare students for careers in art education, architecture and other art-related fields such as art therapy while allowing them to double major.

The B.F.A. will include a heavier emphasis on time in the studio and is “a true commitment on the part of the student and their mentors,” Twa said.

“Students will go through a portfolio review before being invited into the B.F.A. track. Not every student will or should do such a heavily weighted degree, but there is growing interest and a growing notion that in creative industries, people with a B.F.A. can plug into a wide range of creative businesses where that extra depth will serve them.”

Augustana students also enjoy some of the best art-focused facilities in the region and extensive access to internships, apprenticeships and exhibition opportunities, she said.

“All of our art students have multiple exhibition opportunities throughout their career. It’s a key cornerstone to having a professional degree, with portfolio reviews every spring and the opportunities to do a professional summer exhibit. Our seniors will have a monthlong exhibition leading up to graduation.”

Augustana’s Eide/Dalrymple Gallery provides an outstanding venue for students’ work, and the university connects its student artists with other exhibition opportunities at the Washington Pavilion, 8th & Railroad Center and the growing number of commercial galleries in Sioux Falls.

“We have phenomenal facilities for an undergraduate institution of our size,” Twa said. “It is jaw-dropping the quality of our spaces, both exhibition opportunities and the spaces where students get to work.”

Augustana’s goal is to offer high-quality spaces that allow its majors to work in any medium within a tightly tailored community, she said.

“I think everyone, students and faculty, is excited about this new addition to our art program,” Twa said. “It’s been a dream for many years, and now for those who want that true, professional degree, we’re able to offer it.”

To learn more about Augustana’s new B.F.A. program, click here.

Augustana’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts builds on strong arts curriculum

Augustana University art students will be able to pursue a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree starting this fall, offering an enhanced track for students entering creative industries.

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