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History of the Art & Design Department

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Art & Design Mission Statement, adopted by the art faculty March 11, 2017:

 “The Art and Design Department at Colorado Mesa University integrates the principles of a liberal arts education with professional training in the visual arts.  This is accomplished by teaching the technical and creative processes of art and the critical methods of analyzing visual expression.  Our studio-based concentrations focus on the methods, theories and concepts of art and design and educate students to think critically, to express themselves creatively, and to articulate their ideas clearly.  Our well-equipped studios and dedicated faculty provide students with the experiences and examples to engage themselves in the production of art and design.”

The art faculty believes this to be a more comprehensive statement of our goals and mission today. These departmental principles are consistent with the Colorado Mesa University Institutional Mission Statement and the Institutional Vision and Values as stated in the Colorado Mesa University 2020-2021 Catalog, particularly the emphases on “A curriculum, often bridging liberal education and professional programs, that successfully prepares students for the 21st century in the areas of personal and social responsibility, civic engagement, ethics, and intercultural/ global learning.”


Brief history of the program

1925     
Founded as Grand Junction State Junior College, 39 students registered.

1933     
College catalog lists art course work for the first time with one faculty member, Cecilia Cardman. Enrollment exceeds 200 for the first time.

1937     
Name changed to Mesa College.

1941     
Margaret Lewis, Instructor. Home Economics and Art courses offered.

1948     
Alvie Reddin listed as Instructor of art.

1952     
Eight courses in Art listed in catalog.

1957     
Mesa College accredited by North Central Association.

1961     
College Enrollment exceeds 1000 students.

1964     
Don Meyers added as a second faculty member to the Art Department.

1967-68               
13 Courses within the Art Department curriculum including Art in the Home and Commercial Design.

1968-69               
Ten courses within the Art Department curriculum including Printmaking.

1974     
Mesa State College authorized to offer baccalaureate degree programs.

1975-76               
Baccalaureate Degrees offered at Mesa State College for the first time.

                The Art Department offers a 183 credit-hour Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts.

1976-77               
The Art Department makes substantial additions in course offerings including Art History and Studio coursework in jewelry, fibers, ceramics, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and painting.

1994     
First Graphic Designer hired.

1995     
First Art Historian Hired

1996     
BA in Graphic Art and a BA in Art Education K-12 Teaching Licensure added.

2002     
New Fine Art facility — classes offered in new facility spring semester 2002.

2005     
Bachelor of Fine Arts implemented, Graphic Art changed to Graphic Design

2008     
Three new concentrations implemented in Art History, Visual Arts Administration, and Graphic Design: Animation. Studio courses expanded to include workshops in all areas.

2010     
New college center construction includes a larger gallery space for the Art Department in a 720 square-foot gallery.

2012     
First Road Roller Printmaking Event 

2013     
co2, a biennial international Poster Exhibition launched.

2013     
A Vandercook Letterpress was added to the department equipment

2014     
Opening of the new downtown gallery (437 CO) and classroom after closing the
on-campus gallery

2015     
Extensive Photography Course work added to the department curriculum

2015     
BFA in Animation, Film and Motion Design added.

2015     
First Film Faculty position added.

2015     
Artober Fest established.

2016     
BA in Art: Studio Art added

2016     
CNC and 3D Printing Technologies added to Curriculum

2017     
Photography added to BFA in Animation, Film, Photography and Motion Design

2019     
Desert Dog Press — Community Printmaking Press Established

2020     
Minor in Interdisciplinary Film Studies added.

2021     
Fine Art Building Renamed Jack Kephart Fine Arts Building in honor of Jac Kephart.

CMU Now Story on the Renaming Ceremony: Jac Kephart Naming Ceremony