In very few places in any college or university are incoming freshmen expected to conduct original research. Yet from day one freshmen entering our studios and classrooms are asked to perform as researchers, as independent artists, and as scholars. We require our majors to create new things, to produce new ideas, to learn to look at the world in new ways, and to think critically about what they and others have done within their respective fields of discovery. Our students must learn to take criticism, to see what they have done as others see it, and to respond creatively. Students must learn to push past what they already know, do, and think, to seek within themselves new creative and intellectual frontiers. The skills students acquire at UK SA/VS have value far beyond the professional fields of art history, art education or studio art. The common task of our exceptional faculty is not only to develop artists, or art historians or art educators. We work to foster the creativity that lies within every person who passes through our doors. Whatever our students go on to do in life, we want them to possess the intellectual flexibility, the self-consciousness, creativity and critical skills to do what they do better.

Robert Jensen
Director, School of Art and Visual Studies

Mission Statement

The primary mission of the School of Art and Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky is to link the study of art and visual culture to the broad aims of the University’s undergraduate liberal arts tradition by providing world-class instruction in the history, theory, and practice of art. To this basic mission we add opportunities for advanced study through undergraduate professional programs and graduate instruction. We aim to educate all of our students not just to be competitive in arts-related careers as professional artists, educators, and scholars, but also to prepare them for future challenges in fields outside the arts; and to foster their future endeavors as audiences and patrons of the arts. Through our own research and service we maintain SA/VS’s long and distinguished tradition of contributing to the cultural matrix of the Commonwealth. As researchers and creative individuals we strive to advance the frontiers of knowledge in our respective disciplines, achieving and maintaining recognition at the regional, national, and international levels. We serve the campus and wider community by bringing what we have learned home to Kentucky, through professional exhibitions and by sharing our knowledge and experiences as contributors to the local and regional arts landscapes.