A Home for the Visual Arts
Art is the language of the spirit. Through a variety of media, art allows us to communicate meaning, celebrate beauty, and elevate our thoughts toward contemplation of our own Creator.
Visual art offers a crossroads of culture for all students, whether they are engaged in the creative process or appreciating the results. That is why the fine arts have played an important role in a UMHB education since the university first opened its doors, and why the university has recently added the requirement of at least one fine art experience per semester as part of its core curriculum for all students.
Recognizing the importance of visual art as a part of a well-rounded education, and the lack of appropriate facilities for art studies, the UMHB Campus Master Plan calls for the construction of a new center designed specifically for the study of visual art. This beautiful new home for the Department of Art has been named in memory of Mr. and Mrs. John Baugh, in recognition of a timely lead gift for the building from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.
As one of the first projects in the Campus Master Plan, the new art facility is already generating a buzz among prospective art students, and professors anticipate growth in the program as the project nears completion. “Students can sense that this is going to be a place where creativity can thrive,” says Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Ted Barnes. “We believe our art program offers something special for our students, and this building will convey that idea and confirm that UMHB is a place where the arts are taken seriously.”
For a troubled teen, a picture can speak volumes.
Elizabeth Bickel enrolled in the UMHB art program, she expected to stay one year and then transfer to a school that offered a degree in interior design. Jacqueline Harris expected to pursue a degree in social work. But each found, upon enrolling in art classes, that there was something special going on in the UMHB art department, and they wanted to be a part of it.
“I really enjoyed my relationships with my professors,” said Jacqueline. “They were always willing to let me talk my work over with them and hash out ideas about what I could do with my art degree. UMHB prepared me to take the next step in my career.”
Jacqueline and Elizabeth became interested in the possibility of using art to help people who were struggling with difficulties in their lives. Upon graduation the two friends applied for admission to a master of art therapy program at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and they were delighted when they both were accepted into the program.
Now in their third year of study, Elizabeth and Jacqueline work 20 hours a week at a state-funded family crisis center where they direct art therapy for boys and girls ages 11 to 18. Most of the teens have been removed from unhealthy home situations or been bounced around the foster care system; “we see a lot of conduct disorders, substance abuse, and teenage angst,” Elizabeth says.
Both women agree that the work is sometimes difficult, but it is also very rewarding. “I enjoy how it mixes the social service aspect that I was originally looking for with my work in studio art,” says Jacqueline. “It feels like what I’m supposed to be doing, using my abilities to help others.”
The visual arts program at UMHB is built upon three important ideas:
The faculty members of the College of Visual and Performing Arts are active musicians and artists as well as respected educators. All participate regularly in recitals and exhibits, and they encourage their students to participate in adjudicated area and regional competitions, to keep their students using their talents for continuous improvement. The Department of Art follows the guidelines established by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Texas Association of Schools of Art.
Students often cite the small classes and the emphasis on the individual needs of each student as the reasons they enroll at UMHB. “Our faculty members form strong relationships with their students,” says Hershall Seals, chair of the art department. “We help them develop as artists, but we also try to equip them to be successful professionals so they graduate with an understanding of what it will take to make a living as an artist.”
At UMHB, professors are expected to be Christian role models for their students. They demonstrate to their students that a commitment to the arts and a commitment to Christianity can go hand in hand. “People who graduate from our programs have learned to approach the world with integrity,” says Dean Ted Barnes. “Our students learn to look at the complexity and intensity of the world and to reflect upon it in light of our spiritual tradition. We need more people who look at the world in that manner.”
The Baugh Center for the Visual Arts will offer 27,000 square feet of dedicated space for Department of Art activities.
- Spacious studios for classes in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics
- Adjacent outdoor areas for welding and gas kiln firings
- Tiered classroom for art history lectures, with seating for 50
- Special classroom for art education, equipped with materials for teaching K-12 art
- First-floor suite of rooms simulating the areas of an advertising agency, with computer stations for visual communications students and a conference area for collaborative activities
- Studio space for upper-level art majors
- Central gallery for displays of work by students and professors as well as for travelling exhibits.