In A Buckeye State of Mind

Student work - Department of Art 3-D Foundation course

Student work – Department of Art 3-D Foundation course

For many, searching for the right college begins with the question “art college or university?” The two choices lead to very different college experiences. And, true confessions here: I attended a state school and came away with an exceptional education. (Thank you, U Dub!) Unfortunately, I don’t live in Washington anymore, but Ohio offers some outstanding opportunities as well.

The Ohio State University (OSU) is one of the largest land-grant, research universities in the country. I thought they only did “big” in Texas, but OSU proves that theory wrong. Think 49,000+ undergraduate students, ½ million alumni, and 175 majors. Those numbers translate into significant opportunities and support for the Departments of Art, Arts Administration, Design, and Art History.

I’ve had the chance to tour both the Art and Design Departments, and I came away impressed. You won’t need a portfolio to gain acceptance into the university. However, you’ll need one for acceptance into one of the 10 majors these two departments provide. With guidance from professors and your foundation classes you’ll create one during freshman year (Design) and your sophomore year (Art) to compete for acceptance into your major of choice.

Industrial Design class

Industrial Design class

The two departments reside in buildings adjacent to each other, providing plenty of opportunity for cross-pollination. Both are competitive to gain entry. Only 80 students are accepted into the Department of Design’s Pre-Design program, which is narrowed down to 54 after freshman year. That equates to 18 new students each year joining one of three majors; Industrial Design, Interior Design, or Visual Communications. The end result is small classes with highly motivated students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Design, and excellent career opportunities.

The Department of Art is slightly larger but no less competitive. Students complete five foundation courses before gaining acceptance into the rigorous and challenging program. Those admitted earn a BFA in Art and Technology, Ceramics, Glass, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, or Sculpture in a traditional studio environment. Also available is a Bachelor of Arts in Art, a more general degree for students wanting a career related to the arts.

Internships are highly encouraged, especially following sophomore year when students have more confidence in their skills. Study abroad opportunities are also encouraged, providing the chance to learn from other cultures and gain an international perspective.

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Glass in the Midwest

glass blowing 1I had a chance to visit Louisville, Kentucky this weekend. A nice weekend of exploring led to an appreciation for the city’s growing arts community. On Saturday I toured the Glassworks building – which shows off the city’s true support for glass arts. Claiming to be the only facility of its kind in the country, it houses two glass galleries and two working glass studios alongside the Mark Payton Glass Center, which offers tours, walk-in workshops, and the opportunity to create kiln-fired, fused glass projects. The artisans of Payton Flameworks studio make detailed, delicate creations by flame working with a torch and hot glass. Those at Flame Run studio blow hot molten glass into breathtaking works of art. (Don’t try this at home!)

Just a few blocks away is the University of Louisville’s Cressman Center, which houses the Hite Art Institute – U of L’s Department of Fine Arts. The close proximity is no accident. U of L students studying glass can see a potential career path right down the street.

As part of Uof L’s study of art, students can choose a BA or BFA. The former is designed for those looking for a broader exposure to studio work, while the latter is geared towards those with professional ambitions who want more in depth study. BFA students interested in glass can customize their degree to focus on glass alone or work cross-media, taking courses in several studio areas. The program teaches the fundamentals of hot, warm, and cold glassmaking techniques, emphasizing the historic and contemporary context of glass art.

glass blowing in classInterested in glass but want to know your options? Check out these other Midwestern programs.  There are private and public programs represented, giving you the option to choose all-in glass, or combine it with a comprehensive liberal arts education. They all sound fabulous to me. I’m guessing at least one of them will click for you.  

             Ball State University

            Centre College

            Cleveland Institute of Art

            College for Creative Studies

            Ohio State University

            Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Hot News From A Cool Corner Of The Country

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

Glass studies can be found at a number of institutions across the country, but the one that seems most natural to me is at the University of Washington (UW).  Why?  Well, it’s my alma mater (go dawgs!).  But more importantly Seattle and its environs are glass blowing country.  Think Dale Chihuly and Pilchuk, which he co-founded.  So when I read this morning that the UW School of Art has received a gift of two glassblowing furnaces to further its program I was thrilled.  Glass is part of the art school’s 3D4M (Three Dimensional Forum) program, offering students the opportunity to earn a BFA by studying sculptural form through ceramics, glass, wood and metal.   The relationship gives undergraduates the ability to develop a broad understanding of three-dimensional concepts through a variety of media.

The program received a kick-start when Mark Zirpel (Dale Chihuly Endowed Chair) joined the faculty in 2008.  Under his direction the school has created studios for three of the four major components to a world-class program; warm glass, cold glass and lamp glass.  With the donation of two hot furnaces by local producer, glassybaby, students will be able to learn how to blow hot glass while receiving a comprehensive glass education.

Future career opportunities are greater than one might originally think.  The UW Career Center provides a wealth of services for all students and alumni.  Career paths for art school graduates include artist, art education, curator, and museum management to name a few.  If industry is your interest, check out Glass Magazine.  A search through their 2012 product and project award winners will give you an idea of how the artistic appeal of glass is incorporated into the corporate world.  And the magazine’s new online employment center connects job seekers with those in the industry.