About the School of Art
The University of Tennessee is classified as a Doctoral/Research Extensive institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Courses are taught by our internationally known faculty who conduct a high level of research and creative activity.
The School of Art at the University of Tennessee has a strong national reputation and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). On the undergraduate level, the School offers curricula leading to the Bachelor of Arts (majors in Art History and Studio Art); the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art; and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. These programs prepare students to pursue graduate work or a variety of career options including fine artist, graphic designer, photographer, digital/media artist, gallery director, museum administrator, arts administrator, public school teacher, and college instructor.
Undergraduate majors in the school enjoy the advantages of small art classes augmented by the benefits of a large university with its wealth of activities and course selections. The school takes seriously its role of guiding students toward individual creative and educational fulfillment.
Faculty in the School includes artists, designers and art historians of national stature. The Artist-in-Residence Program and the Visiting Artists, Designers and Scholars Program further enhance the teaching environment by featuring prominent individuals who work with students in a variety of venues.
The School of Art has an active exhibition program supported by the Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture and the University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery, which host major exhibitions of work by national and international artists. The School also maintains Tennessee’s only student run, non-profit exhibition space, Gallery 1010. Both University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery and Gallery 1010 are located off campus in the heart of the Knoxville downtown art district.
What is Art – Studio Art (B.F.A)?
The School of Art offers a professional degree in studio art. Following one year of a comprehensive, interdisciplinary foundations program, BFA students choose a concentration in one of the following areas: 2D, 3D or 4D. The 2D area includes drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. The 3D area includes ceramics and sculpture. The 4D area includes video, film, sound and performance. Within each concentration there is the opportunity and structure for students to follow a path of study that nest complements their needs and goals.
All the concentrations offer a wide range of experiences in both traditional and contemporary concepts, materials, and techniques. The curriculum is fundamentally responsive to the plurality of ideas evident in the art world today. Ultimately, the emphasis is on developing in each student the creative processes of ideation, personal expression, and artistic growth.
Drawing offers diverse and exploratory approaches to image making including representational, abstract, process, life drawing, and watercolor. Painting emphasizes that students develop a rigorous studio practice and offers studios for upper level majors. Painting and drawing supports a different artist-in-residence each semester, deliberately chosen to ensure that students have access to a wide range of contemporary sensibilities. Photography has a both a state of the art digital lab and traditional b/w processing and printing. Printmaking provides a complete studio experience with courses in intaglio, lithography, relief and monotype, papermaking and screen-prints, including mono-print, combination of print and non-print methods and photo-print processes.
Ceramics provides instruction and training for students interested in clay as an art form. The curriculum in ceramics addresses functional and sculptural work, new technologies and ceramic history. Sculpture consists of a variety of courses. Some are media-specific; such as steel sculpture (welding) or metal casting; some are thematic such as figure modeling; and other courses are for general development of sculptural ideas.
4D provides instruction and training for students interested in time-based mediums as an art form. With an emphasis on creativity, as well as technical virtuosity, students produce works of art using cinematography, multi-image programming, installation, gaming, performance, sound and video art.
Career Opportunities in Art – Studio Art (B.F.A)
As in any fine arts field, students pursue a visual arts degree because of a strong philosophical commitment to a life of productive creativity. Many students graduating with a BFA go on to graduate study. The skills and training in arts courses, however, can be applied to specific fields of commercial endeavor. Ceramicists often apply their art to the creation of utilitarian vessels. Drawing and painting majors may practice in such fields as advertising, animation, fashion, cartoon art, medical illustration, courtroom sketching, or as a professional artist. The technology training in media courses allows students to learn skills and techniques such as computer-based, non-linear editing, digital imaging, film production and sound manipulation that may lead to positions in professional production studios and other related businesses. Photography may lead to other opportunities. More than half of the photographers whose income derives from photography are self-employed. They specialize in commercial, portrait photography or photojournalism. Because of the social nature of the printshop, many printmaking graduates gain their teaching certification to be art instructors. Some students combine printmaking skills to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator. Other career paths include fine arts printing or operating a letterpress shop. Those trained in sculpture have found employment as furniture designers, architectural model builder, product designer, theater set designer, jewelry designer and product designer.
Salary Trends in Art – Studio Art (B.F.A)
Students who gain teaching certification following a B.F.A. in studio art are paid an average of $33,000 at the entry level. If one is employed in the media industry, entry level salaries may range from $25,000 to $30,000, depending on the skill level of the employee. Those who pursue M.F.A degrees and become professors have starting salaries ranging from $40,000 to $50,000. Salaries for free-lance artists vary widely depending upon their work and the art market.
High School Preparation
Work on a well-rounded curriculum in math, science, history, language and literature. Take a variety of art courses offered in school but also take advantage of other resources in your community: art classes at workshops offered by museums, arts organizations, educational enrichment programs. Make a habit of seeing exhibitions in your community and while traveling. Organize an art club; invite speakers to your school. Work on the yearbook and newspaper in your school. Being involved in student organizations will prepare you not only to work with visual arts materials, but will give you opportunities to work with others on collaborative projects. Subscribe to art journals such as Artforum, Artists in America or Art Papers and actively engage the numerous art forums that are available online. Artists are concerned about the relationship of art to society, so social studies and history classes should be a priority for your academic work. Additionally, creative writing and the study of literature can play a central role in the development of your art.
How to Major in Art – Studio Art (B.F.A)
Before you may progress into the program as a major, you must take Art 101 and 103 (a two-course sequence in two- and three-dimensional design) and an art history survey (Art History 172, 173, 183, or 162). Students are then admitted in rank order of cumulative average as space allows. During the first year, students also usually take Art 102, a course in four-dimensional design, and a second art history survey. During the second year, you will progress to 200-level classes and choose a concentration. Students must pass all progression requirements in their area, which may vary.
Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is affiliated with UT. Forty miles east of the UT campus and two miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Arrowmont is an internationally known visual arts complex renowned for its intensive one-and two-week spring and summer workshops in many media. Weekend and week-long workshops are available in October. Courses may be taken in the spring and summer for UT credit. Internship opportunities are available for graphic design majors, museum studies students and printmaking students. Print Club UTK is an active student printmaking organization. A highlight of each year is a club sponsored printshop open house and fundraiser to help students attend the annual Southern Graphics Council Conference. The UT Potters Club holds a sale each semester, some profits of which help students attend the annual conference of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts. The AIGA Student Group of American Institute of Graphic Arts invites guest speakers, arranges field trips and community outreach. The Sculpture Club works with other organizations to bring visiting artists to campus, facilitates workshops, attends conferences, plans field trips and maintains the Reese Sculpture Collection on campus. The club also organizes community outreach events such as iron pours. SOMA is a club for time-based interested students. They are active in organizing the Handheld Festival at the end of every semester at the Regal Downtown West Theater and sponsor time-based artists on campus. The Visual Arts Committee is a university student organization that brings in visiting artists and organizes exhibitions in the UC Center.
The School encourages students to have experiences beyond the University. Opportunities include national and international student exchange programs, artist residencies, internships, and the many study abroad programs offered through the School of Art and other departments.
Highlights of Art – Studio Art (B.F.A)
We are housed in the expansive Art and Architecture Building, four floors dedicated to architecture and the fine arts. There are lecture spaces and classrooms with multimedia capability, well-equipped design labs, film and video labs, spacious sculpture and ceramic spaces, accommodating painting and drawing studios, and one of the finest printmaking facilities in the nation. The Ewing Gallery, located in Art and Architecture Building, and the Downtown Gallery, recently opened in downtown Knoxville, schedule approximately twenty-four exhibitions each year. These support the galleries’ mission to sponsor exhibitions representative of current attitudes in art, to support the academic goals of the various disciplines taught in the School of Art, and to serve as a resource for the university and regional communities. Gallery 1010, a student gallery organized by students, is located in downtown Knoxville. Exhibitions are scheduled by a School of Art student advisory committee. Our Visiting Artist program introduces diverse and important artists to students. In addition, Painting and Drawing’s artist-in-residence program brings an important contemporary artist to the UT campus each semester.
“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century. Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus. Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings. Visit the Center for International Education web site (http://web.utk.edu/~globe/about.shtml) or the Ready for the World web site (http://www.utk.edu/readyfortheworld/) for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.
Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.
Following this four-year plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years. Milestone courses have been identified as the minimum courses that must be completed.
|Freshman Year||Credit Hours|
|Art History 172 and 173||6|
|Milestone courses: English 101 and one course from Art 101, 102 or 103|
|Sophomore Year||Credit Hours|
|Two-Dimensional Arts 200 level||3|
|Three-Dimensional Arts 200 level||3|
|Four-Dimensional Arts 200 level||3|
|*200-level studio in concentration||3|
|Art History 162 or 183||3|
|Milestone courses: English 102 and two courses from Art 101, 102 or 103|
|Junior Year||Credit Hours|
|*300-400 level studio in concentration||10|
|300-400 level Art History||3|
|+200-400 level Studio Electives||9|
|Cultures and Civilizations (Foreign Language)||6|
|+Communicating through Writing||3|
|Senior Year||Credit Hours|
|*300-400 level studio courses in concentration||10|
|+200-400 level studio electives||9|
|300-400 level Art History||3|
|GRAND TOTAL (minimum)||120|
*See School of Art Handbook for specific concentration requirements
+At least 42 hours at the 300 level or above required
For More Information
School of Art Handbook
School of Art Office
213 Art & Architecture Building
The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.