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Art & Design

College of Arts & Sciences

Here is a full list of areas of study offered by the Department of Art & Design at ETSU. Please click the explore link in each entry or the "Areas of Study" menu in the left navigation of this site to get more details and information about your area of interest!


CORE (first year of study)

CORE is the first year of study for ETSU Art & Design Students. Students are exposed to a multitude of materials, processes, research methodologies, and formal aspects of contemporary art production. Projects and activities revolve around the following:

  • Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving
  • Process and Experimentation
  • Principles and Elements of Design
  • Research and Analysis

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All manner of clay work is encouraged in the Ceramics Area at ETSU. Utilitarian, sculptural, decorative and conceptual directions are all equally valued. Interdisciplinary and collaborative research with other areas can be pursued.

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The drawing program offers basic, intermediate, advanced, and graduate level courses addressing various subject matters, techniques, and materials.

Drawing students may work with more traditional materials such as wet or dry pigment on paper, but they must also remain aware of more possibilities to drawing. Mixed media applications are encouraged in advanced classes to include work on canvas, wood, or other substances. Advanced student exploration may include additional media such as computer graphics or printmaking, and they may consider pushing the formats from small to large scale and from two dimensions to three.

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Extended Media

In the Extended Media program interdisciplinarity plays a major role, emphasis is placed on investigating equally the conceptual and formal facets of creating art. Extended media students may work with traditional art form but will be asked to experiment with additional medium and technics such as installation, sound, performance, social interaction, video, 3dprinting or laser cutting. Self-assigned and independent projects exploring multiple media in 2D, 3D or time based will be encouraged in intermediary and advanced level classes.

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Experimentation, exploration, and innovation are key aspects of the program in fibers at ETSU. Rooted in a system that values the art-making potential of fibers, courses are structured to provide training in as many techniques as equipment and facilities allow. Research and the development of skills in problem-solving and critical self-analysis are emphasized.

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Graphic Design

The Graphic Design program emphasizes visual problem solving with a variety of graphic media. Illustration, typography, photography, and computer technology are used to design branding and corporate identity systems (logos), ads, packages, displays, posters, web sites, animations, and other collateral forms of visual communication.

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Jewelry & Metals

The Jewelry & Metals program uses concepts and techniques derived from the properties of metal and 3-Dimensional Design. Courses focus on material exploration and the development of ideas in the form of objects and wearable art. Exposure to a broad range of techniques encourages formal experimentation including challenging traditional metal practices and the use of alternative materials. Individual expression is developed as students pursue imagery and content.

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The painting program at ETSU is rooted in the notion that the practice of art-making is the most successful when there is a balance between form and content. To that end, painting courses emphasize technical fluency, problem-solving and experimentation in both traditional and alternative media. Investigation into contemporary theory and practices in painting is ongoing in the form of regular critiques and discussions. As students progress through the program, it becomes more and more important that they develop their own voice.

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Throughout the B.F.A. and M.F.A. programs, emphasis is placed on the artistic, historic, contemporary, conceptual, visual, and technical aspects of photography. These elements of the medium can be applied to any application of photography. The nature of the photographic image is a constant issue of exploration in all courses in this program.

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The Printmaking program offers studies, leading to the degrees of B.F.A. and M.F.A. The student can choose from a variety of processes, including woodcut, lino-cut, plate and stone lithography, silkscreen, etching, and engraving. Students are encouraged to develop historical perspective in their work, as well as consider the works of contemporary artists. We believe that printmaking goes beyond the mere reproduction of a photo or drawing. Each proof is considered a unique exploration from inception to final impression.

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Sculpture students at East Tennessee State University have the opportunity to work with a variety of media, including such traditional materials as stone, bronze, steel, clay, and wood. Projects ranging from temporary and site specific environmental art, to community oriented outdoor sculpture and installation are also encouraged. Students from all areas of Art & Design, and from across the campus, with the appropriate prerequisites, are encouraged to take sculpture classes.

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Art History

Art History is a humanistic discipline that focuses on visual art in its historical and cultural context. ETSU offers the BA in Art History, with courses ranging from surveys of western art to period courses to contemporary art history and art theory to seminars in research topics. Three full-time art historians, all with doctorates from distinguished universities, offer a variety of expertise, research interests, and methodological approaches. Part-time faculty teach sections of survey or special areas of expertise.

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Art Education

Our department offers several options for students looking to obtain licensure to teach Visual Art K-12 in Tennessee. At the undergraduate level, students pursue the BA degree in Studio Art and a minor in Teacher Education. The studio classes included in the degree program were selected to provide the candidate with basic information common across the visual arts (the Core classes) and to provide students with skills needed and determined by the Tennessee Department of Education. Much of the information included in the studio classes is needed in order to successfully complete the PRAXIS II exams.

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