History of Art Department

The Art program has existed at the University of Evansville since classes were first offered at Moores Hill College. The program grew until 1918 when the College was sold to Evansville and the Art Department, led by Harry Robert Smith, was closed. It was later reinstated at Evansville College in the form of Drawing classes to support Elementary Education, as this course was required for all Education majors and an option for general student degree programs. The program remained in this support capacity until 1940 when evening classes were established, and the program expanded to eight courses. By 1947 a degree in Arts and Crafts Education was offered with 22 different course offerings. It was then the program became a department and expanded due to growing interest. The first Art degree, an Associate of Arts in Art, was first offered in 1950, and 24 classes were taught by a five-member staff. A decade later, in 1960, 41 Art courses were offered by a staff of 11 faculty. Interest in Art programs continued through the 1960s, and in 1966 the Department had 12 staff members with nearly 70 courses. This growing interest in Art programs contributed to the establishment of the College of Fine Arts in 1969.

The College housed Music, Theatre, and Art. That same year, the Department of Art offered four degrees in Art: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Art Education, and a master’s degree in Art Education. Approximately six full-time faculty manned a department that began to offer an increasing number of graduate courses, adding a new Bachelor of Art and Associated Studies with an emphasis in Art Therapy in 1976. In 1980, the Department again expanded its offerings with a Master of Art in Art and a Bachelor of Art and Associated Studies with emphasis in Commercial Art. By 1982 the Department had established Bachelor of Science degrees in Art Therapy and Commercial Art. The department offered 61 undergraduate courses and 13 graduate courses at this time.

By 1987 the Department expanded its offerings again with the addition of an Art History major and minor. In 1993 a Bachelor of Science in Art Education replaced the Bachelor of Arts in Art Education degree. Since 2001 the Commercial Art program has morphed from Visual Communications to the current Visual Communications Design. The Art Therapy degree was reinstated as a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Art Therapy, preparing students for graduate work toward a Master of Art Therapy and associated certification.