USM ART is a nationally accredited program that prides itself on giving students a rigorous studio experience, historical understanding of the complexity of art practices, and the critical skills needed to become informed visual artists, art educators and art historians.
USM ART offers a professional degree in studio arts and an art education degree that leads to full state and national certification. Additionally, it offers liberal arts degrees in art history, studio arts, and art and entrepreneurial studies, which combines study of studio arts with courses in business, financial management and marketing. Students can customize their experience within these various degree options to meet their own needs.
USM ART programs offer a low student-teacher ratio, mentorship and peer learning. All faculty are recognized artists and scholars who are committed to their teaching. A sense of community flourishes within the department and is reinforced by the dedicated and attentive staff, who are all practicing artists or art historians. Rather than promote a single artistic approach or attitude the studio art programs emphasize the development of students' ability to think creatively and independently. A BFA thesis exhibition is held each year in conjunction with a professional practices seminar, and capstone seminars are also offered in art education and art history. In order to acknowledge and accommodate the department's many non-traditional students courses are rotated through both evening and daytime slots, and there are weekend and off-campus offerings as well. In an effort to keep current with new technologies, the department collaborates with the Department of Technology to support a state-of-the-art digital lab dedicated to art and technology courses.
With exhibition venues on both campuses the USM ART GALLERIES present the work of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and play a major role in the cultural life of the Southern Maine region. Each spring the artist-in-residence program brings a nationally recognized artist to campus to teach and produce work. There is also a distinguished and long-running Lecture Series in the Visual Arts that brings artists, scholars and critics to campus. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a well-established internship program that links them to professionals and arts organizations.
The Department of Art's mission is to:
- serve the needs of the southern Maine community;
- graduate students possessing the knowledge and skills that will help them to lead rich and fulfilling lives both personally and professionally;
- educate students to be intelligent readers of their own and other cultures;
- be able to use analysis and historical context to interpret artistic and cultural practices;
- develop an appreciation for the arts;
- develop an awareness of the ways visual arts help to define and shape the world;
- provide general courses that educate students in the practices of art making and the historical study of the visual arts;
- provide a variety of degree programs directed to concentrated study in the visual arts;
- give students a rigorous studio experience, a historical understanding of the complexity of art practices, and the critical skills needed to produce informed visual artists, art educators, and art historians.