As the largest art department in the state, our Studio Art program encompasses seven
concentration areas: ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking
The Studio Art program offers two bachelor’s degrees, the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. The Bachelor of Arts degree
is a general degree that allows students to explore many different mediums and, at
39 credit hours, is well suited for students who are interested in double majoring.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, at 63 credit hours, allows students to dive deep
into a concentration area and is ideal for students who have an intense interest in
a particular kind of art and/or who are interested in going to graduate school.
Studio Art also offers two master’s degrees, the Master of Arts and the Master of Fine Arts. The Master of Arts allows students
to continue to refine their artistic work and broaden their knowledge of art. The
Master of Fine Arts is a terminal degree that affirms mastery in studio production.
As a studio art student, you will benefit from outstanding facilities and hands-on
experience through internship and research opportunities.
Philosophy Today’s art program should provide options for individual self-development. We recognize
that the artist’s role has become more complex; technology has opened new frontiers,
and divisions between mediums have all but disappeared. During the graduate years,
students are expected to work as maturing artists motivated by independent ideas.
In the sculpture area at USC students find an atmosphere of stylistic freedom, which
allows the realization of their visual concepts.
Facilities Sculpture at USC occupies more than 4,000 square feet of studio and shop space. Graduate
studios are in a building separate from the undergraduate area. Each graduate student
has approximately 400 square feet of individual studio space. Additionally, due to
the generally mild climate, students take advantage of the large covered outdoor working
area. Graduate students have 24-hour access to their studios and studio equipment.
The sculpture facilities include equipment appropriate for most sculptural techniques.
Equipment Table saws, band saws, scroll saw, radial arm saws, chop saws, drill presses, belt
and disc sanders, planer, four mobile oxyacetylene rigs, mig and arc welders, plasma
cutter, bench grinders, foundry and mold making area, large metal cutting horizontal
band saw, various pneumatic tools, large sandblasting cabinet and mobile pressure
pot, forge with treadle hammer, paved, lighted and covered outdoor work area, fork
lift, and most major hand and power tools.
Visiting Artists The faculty is committed to an ongoing program of visiting artists. This policy gives
our students exposure to the realities of the professional art world along with a
chance to exchange ideas with some of today’s top artists. Visiting artists have included:
James Surls, Greg Elliott, William Martin, Nam June Paik, Leo Castelli, William Wegman,
Gregory Armanoff, Alfred Leslie, Shaun Cassidy, Robert and Paula Winokur, Norwood
Viviano, Bernadette Vielbig, James Alexander, John Douglas Powers, to name a few.
Our program offers a B.F.A, M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Ceramics. Ceramics students'
personal interests vary from a strong vessel orientation to sculptural and conceptual
art forms in clay. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of ceramic history and
contemporary art issues through graduate seminars, guest speakers and Art History
classes. The size of our program allows for considerable interaction between students
and faculty. The M.A. degree is a two year progam and involves a minimum of 30 hours
of course credit. the M.F.A. degree is a three year program and involves a minimum
of 60 credit hours.
The drawing program is designed to provide a wide range of drawing experiences and
approaches. Introductory courses (100 level) heighten visual awareness and develop
traditional drawing skills. Figure Structure is offered at the 200 level with the
option of taking subsequent classes. Inter-mediate level courses (300 level) introduce
more physical and tactile materials and techniques as well as theoretical and expressive
concepts. Drawing projects are set up to make you more aware of your culture with
an emphasis placed on personal creative thinking. Advanced courses (400 level) offer
the opportunity to learn to be more independent and creative through mentored personal
investigations and thematic drawing series leading to portfolio preparation for career
opportunities after graduation. Class enrollments are limited to ensure lots of one-on-one
There are three dedicated drawing studio classrooms (two for general drawing and one
for figure drawing) that are available for students both during classes and during
off class hours. Each studio has a high ceiling, lots of windows and overhead specialty
The drawing faculty are all exhibiting professional artists and excellent teachers
who look forward to working with you to achieve your creative potential. Numerous
visiting and adjunct faculty also teach in the drawing area.
It is the mission of the USC graphic design faculty to make our students as competitive
and prepared for the working world as possible. We want this transition from student
to professional to be seamless.
The graphic design program teaches the theory, history and practice of visual communications
design by providing students a firm foundation in formal and conceptual design. Our
courses cover publication and editorial design, logo design and branding, packaging,
illustration, poster design, multimedia, motion graphics and interactive design.
Graphic design, at its most effective, should communicate intelligently and appropriately
to the intended audience. Solving client-based requirements is a major component of
the designers' task in our program and in the profession.
The graphic design program has two full-time faculty and several instructors that
work professionally in the field. Columbia is also home to the South Carolina Chapter
of The AIGA, a national organization for professional graphic designers. AIGA SC offers
a wide variety of programming that includes internationally- renowned guest speakers,
workshops, and special design related events such as a summer design film series.
The painting program at the University of South Carolina is coordinated by David Voros
and Pam Bowers, practicing painters who exhibit their work internationally. The focus
of our faculty, on both graduate as well as undergraduate levels, is to create a community
in which students can develop as serious committed artists who express themselves
through painting. Our objective is to expose students to the history and aesthetic
breadth of the medium, to challenge them to develop their own initiatives and to pursue
excellence. Our focus is broad and interdisciplinary, it follows no ideological agenda,
yet remains centered in a celebration of the medium of painting.
The photography program in Art Studio is located on the second floor of the McMaster
College. We offer a classroom with print finishing and display areas, two black &
white darkrooms with a total of 20 enlargers (including 3 new Saunders 4x5 VCCE's),
a film developing area, and a fully equipped lighting studio. Digital facilities include:
film and flatbed scanners, large-format inkjet printers, piezography and archival
inkjet output, a comprehensive ICC profile library, and 20 calibrated E-Mac workstations.
A selection of cameras and equipment are available for check-out through Media Services.
In the Art Studio photography program, emphasis is on personal exploration of ideas
within the context of contemporary art and critical theory. BFA photography students
will explore a variety of techniques & concepts including: advanced black & white
printing, medium & large-format, studio lighting, digital imaging, non-silver, early
processes, critical theory, and career practices. At the 400-level, students pursue
individual projects in depth and work to create a course web gallery and an editioned
portfolio project. Additionally, 400-level students complete an individual portfolio
and group exhibition.
The photography concentration in Studio Art prepares students for a variety of careers
including: fine art photographer, educator, curator, critic, gallery owner, and arts
The MFA degree in photography consists of a 60 hour program of study, which typically
takes three years to complete. Successful completion of the program requires an understanding
of one's work within the context of critical theory and contemporary art. Upon completion
of the degree requirements, students are expected to demonstrate expertise within
the field of photography through the exhibition of a substantial body of work.
The Printmaking Area in the Department of Art at the University of South Carolina
is housed primarily in three classrooms at McMaster College. In McMaster there are
facilities for all the major printmaking processes: relief, intaglio, serigraphy,
lithography, and digital imaging. There are two hand-driven lithograph presses (and
many stones to go with them), three hand-driven etching presses, a large vacuum table
for screen printing, an exposure unit for large-format screen printing, and a photographic
plate maker. There is also a well-equipped computer lab with a large plotter printer.
In addition to the facilities in McMaster College, there is a variety of letterpress
and papermaking equipment in the new USC Studio for Book Arts. Along with the presses,
there is another large vacuum table for screen printing and a motorized fiber beater
The atmosphere of the Printmaking Area at USC is one of tradition, experimentation
and variety in terms of format and technique. In addition to creating prints in traditional
methods, many students create installations and combine printmaking processes with
photography, drawing, painting or three-dimensional work. There is a strong communal
aspect among students and faculty, and a great deal of interaction with the other
areas and programs in the Department of Art.