College of Fine Arts Art

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About Us

The distinguishing characteristics of the Department of Art are our unique programs of study, outstanding faculty and professional degrees. We offer comprehensive art study in aesthetics, scholarly, historical and technical studio instruction. Our students focus on developing who they are as an artist or designer. Our undergraduate students spend their first two years striking a balance between art and general education classes where we encourage personal and creative growth. In their junior and senior years, students find themselves in an immersive art environment where they focus on their area of specialization and portfolio development. It is our goal to guide students toward understanding of art creation and critical analysis of visual art and design as we prepare students for transition into careers in the visual arts.

Did You Know?

  • Faculty members are accomplished artists who produce and show their work nationally and internationally.
  • The University of South Dakota Art Faculty have won national teaching and art awards for their distinguished excellence.
  • The Art Department offers students a 1:17 teacher to student ratio.
  • USD offers the only BFA and MFA degrees in the state of South Dakota.
  • We are the only South Dakota Department of Art accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). We have held accreditation since 1978.
  • The Art Department is part of the College of Fine Arts, which is housed in the 104,000 square foot Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.
  • The art facilities include 11 studios equipped for everything from drawing and photography to welding and bronze casting.
  • We are a Mac-based department with a computer lab housing a large format digital printing environment.
  • Graphic Design majors participate in the Laptop Program.
  • Students groups include the Student Art Association, AIGA, Midwest Press and the Art History Society.
  • USD has several galleries across campus which allows us to exhibit national shows as well as student exhibitions.
  • The ID Weeks Library has the largest collection of art library reference materials in the state, including digital resources such as ArtStor and Grove Encyclopedia of Art.
  • Annually we welcome numerous visiting artists, who provide our students with professional master classes, critiques, gallery shows and more.
  • Student trips to regional galleries and study abroad opportunities offer broad exposure to cultures.
  • We offer numerous online Art History classes and Annual Study Abroad classes.  In recent years, our students have earned Art History credit through classes traveling to China, England, France and Italy.
  • At USD, you will have opportunities to show your artwork in exhibitions, such as the annual Stilwell Student Awards Exhibition and student shows in the community.


A quick glance at the number of magazines, animated entertainment shows and art galleries tells us there are wide ranges of job possibilities for visual artists. Whether you are looking to create public sculptures or design web pages, we can help you develop your portfolio for the competitive market.

The Department of Art helps students develop the knowledge, experience, skills, and confidence to build and sustain a professional practice and become successfully employed. We provide individual advising, curricular programs, events, workshops and resources focusing on professional practice and employment to help students prepare strong resumes and artist portfolios.

Professional Visual Art Jobs may include:
  • K-12 Art Teacher
  • Art/Design Professor
  • Museum Educator
  • Arts Center Director
  • Graphic Designer
  • Creative Director
  • Production Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Interactive Designer
  • Advertising Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Studio Artist
  • Graphic Artist
  • Studio Photographer
  • Freelance Photographer