Article by Garrett Carroll

Adams State University and the surrounding San Luis Valley are prime locations for artistic pursuit. From photography and painting to sculpting and graphic design, the Adams State Art Department continues to teach and kindle the creative spirits of students here on campus. They offer a variety of paths for students.

Art Professor Gene Schilling, who holds a Master of Fine Arts from Colorado State University and is the program chair, says the department is a place where everyone can feel welcomed. “We encourage critical thinking, discussion, and critique. The Art Department is a safe space to be yourself and grow as an artist. Faculty and students both say it feels like family.”

Sculpture Class
Sculpture Class
Photo by Amy Kucera

The art faculty function as mentors and advisors to students. Students are introduced to a variety of directions they can take and can combine many of those paths and what they acquire from to work into a variety of career roles including:

Writing/ Analytical

  • Art Curriculum Writer
  • Art Historian
  • Art Critic
  • Arts Administrator
  • Arts and Cultural Planner
  • Website Owner/ Blogger
  • Graphic Novel Author

Graphic Design

  • Logo/ Branding Designer
  • Advertisement Designer
  • Content Designer/Creator
  • Book/ eBook Designer
  • Creative Consultant
  • 3D Product Design

Fine Art

  • Book Illustrator
  • Graphic Illustrator
  • Technical/ Textbook Illustrator
  • Storyboard Illustrator
  • Cartoonist/ Caricaturist
  • Commercial Artist
  • Fine Artist (Painter)
  • Mural Artist
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Art School Director
  • Primary/ Elementary Teacher
  • Middle/ Highschool Art Teacher
  • University Lecturer/ Professor

Undergraduates can pursue either a Bachelor of Arts. and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Typically, students pursuing a teaching career earn a BA and a BFA prepares artists for graduate schools or the world of professional art.

The great news is that everything within the Art Department is designed to help and motivate students to discover the exact direction that they want to pursue. As Schilling explains: “Small class sizes allow us to connect with all of our students. We work as a creative collective, and we help nourish their passions.”

The smaller school environment at Adams State also lends itself to students in additional ways. There are large studio classrooms with access after-hours and industry-leading equipment and technology. Since the class sizes are so small, there are usually less than 20 students, giving ample room for one-on-one mentoring and student improvement.

Upperclassmen in the program have access to studio space as well, giving them a place to create their own works of art.

The Art Department utilizes social media as a way to promote event information and important date reminders. The culture of any academic department is important, and promoting and recruiting students is crucial to its continued success. “Our social media is used as a recruitment and retention tool, as well as a way for us to connect to our community,” Schilling added. “We also use it to show the culture of our department by showcasing our students and their artwork.”

The 2022 BFA graduating class has their work on display in the Cloyde Snook Gallery and the James Hatfield Gallery is hosting the BA student show. A closing reception is scheduled from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, May 13.