School of Performing and Visual Arts
School of Performing and Visual Arts
All first-year students and many transfer students begin their studies within the Department of Art and Design at Southern Miss in the Art Foundations program. “Foundations”, as many know the program, is an intense first year experience organized to prepare students for a successful transition into their desired area of visual specialization. The foundations year includes five basic, yet challenging studio courses including drawing, two and three-dimensional design and color theory.
As with more advanced studio courses that follow, foundation level courses are oriented toward understanding the creative process, as well as comprehending and developing a personal sense of visual sophistication. Also significant in the foundation year is the need to acquire, and use with confidence, a strong artistic vocabulary relating to the visual arts. A strong beginning makes for a highly qualified and professionally valuable graduate from any of the visual arts/design programs.
Once the student has successfully completed requirements of the Foundation program it is time to move into their preferred area of specialization.
The goal of effective communication continues to be a major concern among the diverse business, social and individual interests of a complex society.
Educated as both an artist and a communicator, the graphic designer must develop a high level of proficiency in traditional artistic skills and in advanced digital skills in order to transform artistic decisions into effective digital graphics for sophisticated audiences.
Instead of self-expression being the primary aim of his/her work, the designers’ visual solutions are prioritized toward reaching an audience with the purpose of communicating a specific idea with a personal vision.
Graphic Design is the largest area of enrollment within the Department of Art and Design. The four full-time graphic design faculty are designers from diverse areas of professional practice who combine knowledge of the business of design with the importance of the individual as a designer. Instruction is supported by art studio and academic courses related to the design profession. Classroom experiences may be broadened through job internships in design firms, advertising agencies or corporate design studios. Numerous field trips, visiting artist presentations and work on actual, real world projects also expand the classroom experience.
Within the Graphic Design program, course work focuses on visual literacy; development of conceptual, aesthetic, and visualization skills; and creative problem-solving. Students gain proficiency in traditional and computer design skills. In beginning graphic design courses, students are exposed to design theory, methodologies, and tools of visual communication. Conceptual, technical and presentation skills, based on commercial expectations and professional practices, are developed. Later course work emphasizes communication skills, technical and production skills, and the understanding of marketing and promotion.
Students will learn Graphic Design skills and principles for identity design, type design, collateral design, editorial design, package design, poster design, information design, storyboarding, advertising design, and, interactive (web) design.
At the completion of the senior year, students produce an extensive senior project, combining an area of personal vision with their professional goals. Successful completion of the program provides a professional portfolio and the skills necessary to enter the field. The program enjoys an exceptional placement rate, with graduates working in corporate art studios, advertising agencies, design studios, printing and publishing firms, and the expanding electronic publishing and digital art fields throughout the United States.
The objective of the Drawing and Painting area is to teach all students an understanding of the expressive and investigative possibilities of the two-dimensional formal plastic arts.
For those who are professionally oriented, the program provides experiences of sufficient breadth and depth to develop professional standards of performance. Students from the Southern Miss Drawing and Painting program have gone on to advanced studies in competitive graduate schools in the United States and abroad.
Teaching is done by a two-dimensional visual form problem-solving method, using traditional materials on a planer surface to produce visual artwork. An open and ongoing dialogue about painting and drawing and visual aesthetics is done in group criticism sessions, as well as individual (one-on-one student / faculty) criticism sessions. Theses, combined with group classes and individual projects, will prepare the student for the senior project and exhibition. Advanced courses are individualized and highly independent.
The objective of the Sculpture Program is to offer students a complete and well-rounded curriculum in the three dimensional art forms. Creative problem-solving in three-dimensional space and the history of the medium are the primary goals. It is important for the artist/student to be proficient in a wide range of materials and techniques. Concurrently, the student must endeavor to invent and build an effective visual language as an expressive tool for art-making. They will be well versed in contemporary issues and theory related to art making as well as the historical contributions of other artists and institutions and have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to enter into creative careers, and/or successful entry into graduate school.