Studio Art (AA, BA)

ceramics class

Turn your creative passion into a creative profession.

Why Major in Studio Art?

A studio art program allows you to develop your talent, technical skills and conceptual thinking. You’ll learn what inspires you as an artist and explore career opportunities in a variety of creative industries.

See what develops in your photography courses. Discover what you can bring to life in your 3-D art courses. Imagine the possibilities for that blank canvas in front of you.

Why Choose USF’s Studio Art Program?

At the University of Saint Francis, you will learn more than just how to create successful art: You’ll develop the skills needed to sustain a career as a professional artist.

Highlights of USF’s Student Art Program include:

  • 24/7 access to the Rolland Art Center, a fully-equipped creative space that allows plenty of room and resources to pursue your creative work.
  • Individualized attention and personalized support from accomplished faculty-artists
  • On-site galleries showcasing numerous art exhibitions (including the chance to exhibit your own!)
  • Courses that cover the “business aside” of art, you’ll learn how to talk about your art, promote your work to galleries and succeed as a working artist

At USF, you’ll get to create for you: express yourself, your faith, your feelings. Make a statement, make a splash, make something incredible.

Take the first step:

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Career Outlook & Success


art galleries on campus


Expected increase in demand for archivists, curators and museum workers through 2029 (BLS, 2019)


National median salary for craft and fine artists (BLS, 2019)

Explore Your Creativity: Courses, Concentrations & Minors

In your core art courses, you’ll develop your composition skills and build your technique. You can then hone your talents in one of three concentration areas:

2-D art courses:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Illustration

3-D art courses:

  • Ceramics
  • Metalcraft
  • Fibers
  • Sculpture

Photography courses:

  • Digital photography
  • Traditional darkroom
  • Lighting
  • Digital imaging

Adding a minor, such as graphic design, illustration, sequential art, visual development, art history, community arts or museum studies, can expand your portfolio and creative career opportunities.

Real-World Learning Opportunities: Art Internships & Community Service

Artwork that Works. 

Studio art majors build their portfolios and gain professional experiences through internships at galleries, museums, schools, nonprofit organizations, independent artist studios and other locations. Recent examples include BFA Commercial Photography, South Bend Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Artlink Contemporary Gallery and Northside Galleries.

Art that is Good for the Community

Art majors also participate in project-based learning that benefits the community; recent projects include:

  • Through a partnership with the Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities, students photographed and displayed portraits of clients that highlighted their strengths and capacities.
  • Communication and Studio Art majors collaborated with the League for the Blind and Disabled to create an exhibition of original work. “Sensing Beauty: A Multi-Sensory Art Experience” featured art and photography cultivated from interviews with sight-impaired clients who described their concepts of beauty.
  • In partnership with the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District and Art This Way Alley Activation Project, art students created a large-scale mural and were trained in how to engage communities through public art.
  • Students who add the Community Arts Service and Engagement minor (CASE) are given specific training and project opportunities in various forms of community art projects.

Meet Our Faculty-Artists

As a studio art major, you’ll get personalized attention and learn from accomplished, working artists with a range of educational, professional and artistic backgrounds, including:

Eric D Carlson earned his BFA in ceramics and jewelry from Illinois State University and an MFA in ceramics and fibers from the University of Missouri – Columbia. His passion is ceramics, which he often combines with other materials, like metal, fiber and wood. His art process is closely connected to his blue-collar upbringing.

Monika Meler earned her BFA in printmaking from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and her MFA from Temple University allowed her to study between Philadelphia and Rome, Italy.

Tim Parsley, program director and associate professor of studio art (painting and drawing) earned his BFA from the University of Cincinnati and his MFA from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). In addition to his work as an artist and art educator, he is a professional muralist who has created large-scale murals in Fort Wayne, Cincinnati, New York City and Nairobi, Kenya.

Cara Lee Wade’s life changed when she first entered the darkroom; now, as an associate professor of photography, she shares her passion with students. She earned her MFA in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Creativity On Campus: Showcase & Celebrate Your Art

Our Annual Student Art Exhibition 

Share what you’ve made with the campus community at our annual student exhibition:

View our 2020 Virtual Showcase

Clubs for Creatives

The USF campus is full of creative-minded students, and they get together to create, learn and make a difference in the community through clubs and activities such as:

  • Artists in Action
  • Dead Artists Society
  • f/8 Photo Club
  • Mudslingers Ceramics Club
  • Pencil Pushers Sketch Club

One of the biggest things I’ve learned at USF is to focus on what I love. For me, that’s art. The professors teach us how to be stable and productive in the field we love. They teach us to live our dream and to apply our art and creativity wherever we are.

August Pengelly ’20
Studio Art major


Career Opportunities: Where a Studio Art Program Can Take You

Bring your creativity to life in a collage of career opportunities in:

  • Commercial studios
  • Schools and educational environments
  • Photography studios
  • Marketing/advertising agencies  Media outlets/companies
  • Museums and galleries
  • Publishing
  • Retail/merchandising
  • Illustration and design
  • Technical theatre
  • Professional artist
  • Arts nonprofits
  • Community art

Possible roles and job titles:

  • Painter
  • Sculptor
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer teacher
  • Art therapist
  • Graphic designer
  • Museum curator
  • Art director
  • Animator
  • Industrial designer
  • Interior designer

Where You’ll Find Our Graduates

USF Studio Art graduates are making, creating, teaching, designing, curating and managing projects in places such as:

  • Britton Marketing & Design Group (art director)
  • Brumbeloe Fine Art Photography
  • BFA Commercial Photography
  • Cornerstone Schools (art teacher)
  • Creative Life Magazine (assistant editor)
  • Fort Wayne Civic Theater (prop master)
  • Fort Wayne Museum of Art
  • Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum (assistant director)
  • Hillsborough Community College (gallery director)
  • Indiana Tech (creative director)
  • Lure Creative Design (lead designer)
  • LUC Illuminaire (creative brand strategy manager)
  • SwitchedOn Training Inc. (user experience designer)
  • The TAG Art Company
  • Vera Bradley (assistant art director)

They also own studios, run art collectives and work as independent artists and makers, freelance photographers and designers and private art teachers and instructors throughout the region and around the country.

Some USF art majors and minors pursue graduate programs and have been accepted into MFA programs at schools such as:

  • Ohio University (Ph.D, interdisciplinary arts)
  • Kendall College of Art and Design (MFA, photography and painting)
  • Columbus College of Art and Design (MFA, photography)
  • Miami University (MFA, painting)
  • Illinois State University (MFA, ceramics)
  • University College, Dublin, Ireland (Museum Archives and Records Management)

I am impressed with how the professors work with us and how intentional they are. They really get to know the students – our interests and goals — and they challenge us to dream big and work hard. It’s also very exciting to have high-quality artists as my professors. They inspire me to do well.

Sophie Knox ’19
Studio art major

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Academic Plan

An academic plan is a general blueprint showing how one might complete the degree, semester by semester. Get an idea on what each semester could look like.

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