The fall semester of 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the first course in visual arts taught at The University of Southern Mississippi, a drawing course which marked the beginnings of the Department of Art and Design at Southern Miss.
In celebration of this anniversary, the Museum of Art presents a “Century of Drawing,” an exhibition being held through Nov. 7 in the Southern Miss Museum of Art on the Hattiesburg campus, featuring the work of alumni who studied drawing and painting at Southern Miss. The exhibit is supported by the university’s Partners for the Arts.
Art instructor Delorea Hanel was among the original faculty when Mississippi Normal College first opened its doors on Sept. 18, 1912. During that time, drawing was required as one of 13 courses in both tracks for the teacher’s diploma. Courses in color and design were also taught, as well as other related courses in art. The course offerings at that time were similar to the foundation program in art today.
By the fall of 1940, the bachelor of arts degree was offered, with the college’s Division of Art offering seven courses in drawing, painting and design. The first bachelor of fine arts degree was offered in fall 1960 in drawing and painting or commercial art, now known as graphic design.
In 1985, the Department of Art and Design received Division I Accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The Southern Miss Department of Art and Design was the first art department in the state to achieve NASAD accreditation.
The Woods Art Gallery opened in 1977 and is now one of three galleries in the expanded Museum of Art. The museum serves the university, Hattiesburg and south Mississippi with art exhibitions, lectures, and events of cultural and educational significance.
While the department’s faculty and facilities have expanded and course offerings have changed over the last century, its commitment to a strong education in the visual arts remains the same. Southern Miss looks forward to its second century of excellence in education and the visual arts.
The Southern Miss Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located on the ground floor of the Fine Arts Building, Marsh Hall, 111 Southern Drive. For more information about the exhibit or the Southern Miss Department of Art and Design, online visit http://www.usm.edu/visual-arts or call the department at 601.266.4972.