About the Department
The mission of the Department of Art includes professional and public service contributions. The expertise unique to the professional artist, designer, and teacher serves varied clientele, agencies, and associations in the community, state of Kansas, and the national and international community.
A commitment to high-quality undergraduate and graduate education in the visual arts is the cornerstone of the mission of the Department of Art. Quality teaching is enhanced by the creative research endeavors of the faculty who work closely with students to stimulate aesthetic and intellectual inquiry in both theory and application. The Department of Art prepares its students to become practicing artists who possess visual literacy, cultural and historical awareness, sound aesthetic judgement, and creative problem-solving skills. To ensure the successful implementation of the mission, the pedagogical practices, educational objectives, and curricular structure of the Department are guided by a series of preferred student outcomes.
The Department of Art at Kansas State University is a NASAD accredited institution with eleven concentrations in studio art, graphic design and art history. The mission of the Department of Art is based on the recognition of the universal human need for visual expression, the necessity of the visual arts and visual communication in contemporary society, and the importance of cultural diversity provided for by exposure of the arts.
The Department of Art is housed in the heart of campus with the university quad to the west and Hale Library directly south. Willard Hall went under reconstruction in 1934 after a fire destroyed the former Denison Hall. The new building, named after Dr. J.T. Willard, was the home of the Chemistry and Physics Department. While roaming the hallways one may still find faded traces of the old departments marking the doors and corridors.
As for our namesake, Dr. Willard served Kansas State University in several capacities, including studying here as a student, as a Professor of Science, as a K-State Vice President and as acting President for two months following the resignation of H.J. Waters in 1917. Dr. Willard became the universities historian in 1936. He holds the record for the longest official association with the Kansas State University University; it stretches 71 years. In 1936, David Overmeyer painted Dr. Willard's portrait, and it hangs on the 1st floor of Willard Hall.
The Department of Art now resides in Willard, and its students have pumped new blood in the old walls with its array of studio arts and visual history.