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The department of art offers a rigorous, socially minded, and research-driven curriculum. Students engage in an immersive laboratory of fearless experimentation and challenge the rapidly expanding role of art in our society.

Through radical methodologies and trans-disciplinary thinking, students utilize a range of artistic disciplines in a state-of-the-art facility. Equal emphasis is placed on both individual and collective exploration, where students are encouraged to develop relationships across the university and broader communities.

Department of art students are engaged citizens who are taught to be risk-takers that are ethically responsible, politically minded, and creative problem solvers. They take on the complexities of the 21st century, including issues of justice, equality, environment, diversity and peace.

Faculty in the Department of Art are nationally and internationally recognized artists. Active in their practice, these faculty members are also devoted to teaching and sharing their technical and theoretical expertise not only with the students who seek to develop their creative energies as majors in art but those from other disciplines who are drawn to the evocative powers inherent in a visual language.

Students have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of disciplines, including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installation, ceramics, video art, digital animation, new media, social practice and performance art. Within the context of small classes, where faculty members can work closely with each student to assist in the discovery of an artistic voice and the honing of technical skills, the emphasis is always on the innovative – the place where the concept and the handling of the medium converge in a work of art.

Environment for the Arts

The Art Department occupies the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center located in the heart of the Vanderbilt campus. The facility offers light-filled rooms for classes, individual studios for senior majors, lecture hall, galleries that can be expanded from one space to four to accommodate exhibitions and critiques and a spacious lounge. Among the benefits of the Art Building is the experimental gallery, Space 204, which hosts student shows as well as curated shows of current interest and which acts as a workshop for artists in residence. The first floor of the building also boasts an informal, open space for student work run by students themselves. These exhibition spaces are supplemented by numerous galleries on the Vanderbilt campus, including the Fine Arts Gallery at the Cohen Building and the nearby Sarratt Center. Nashville, with a lively and diverse creative community in the arts, offers further opportunities for the impressionable art student who may take advantage of excellent museums, including The Frist Art Museum , The Cheekwood Museum of Art, OZ Arts Nashville Contemporary Performance Art Center, and the Fisk University Art Museum, to name only a few of the city’s offerings.

Special Opportunities

The faculty has been energetic in its pursuit of visiting artists to round out the students’ education by exposure to other successful practitioners. These artists come to give lectures and open workshops or individual critiques of student work. In the last several years the Department has welcomed Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Olu Ouguibe, Guillermo Galindo, Aki Sasamoto, Chloë Bass, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Regina Jose Galindo, Pedro Barbeito, Robert Todd, Regina Agu, Penelope Umbrico, Sandford Biggers, Leighton Pierce, Charles Long, Carrie Mae Weems, Antoni Muntadas, Hung Liu, Emma Amos, Jules de Balincourt, Enrique Chagoya, Judy Chicago, Mark Dion, Oliver Herring, Teresa Hubbard, Mike Smith, Sam Gilliam, Al Sousa, Lucy Lippard, Janine Antoni, Roger Shimomura, Barry McGee, The Art Guys and others.

Other distinguished artists visit each year to serve as jurors for the Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award. The highly coveted award consists of a $25,000 grant to be used for travel and art making during the year following graduation. It culminates with a solo exhibition here at Vanderbilt. Other awards include the Allan P. Deloach Memorial Prize in Photography and a variety of smaller awards given out each year for excellence. In recent years the Art Department has offered Maymester courses, which provide extensive study of contemporary art in cities such as London and New York. 


In town: The Frist Art Museum, Nashville Civic Design Center, Third Man Records, Tinney Contemporary Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery; Out of town: Elsewhere Museum, Northwestern University Global Engagement Studies Institute, Sandhills Institute.

After Vanderbilt

Many students will use the program in studio art as a foundation for careers in which creativity and the visual communications are especially valued, as the basis for advanced training in professional schools (such as art, architecture, museum studies) and for employment in galleries, museums or design- related fields. An important goal of the Art Department is to help students become lifelong interpreters of the rich visual environment in our culture as well as proponents of the creative approach in their selected professions, whatever they might turn out to be.


For information about faculty and examples of their work, visit the department website at


Martha L. Dale
Department of Art
E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center
1204 25th Avenue South at Garland
Nashville, TN 37240
Phone: (615) 343-7241


Art Website