JULY 5, 2022 — The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today announced that it has completed the final terms of its agreement to integrate the Southwest School of Art (SSA). The two schools announced their intent to combine programs in August 2021.
Moving forward, UTSA is committed to supporting the long-term continuity of high-quality arts education for the benefit of the entire San Antonio community—from youth to lifelong learners—and honoring and preserving the beauty and history of the SSA campus in the transition to the UTSA Southwest campus.
The site promotes education and enrichment and is located in proximity to other cultural and arts centers, including the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
"We're grateful for the ongoing collaboration between both institutions, and we celebrate this final phase of integration so we can continue expanding meaningful arts programs for students and community members throughout San Antonio," said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “This partnership not only advances our mission to create more opportunities for student success, but also helps further establish San Antonio as the cultural heart of Texas."
Since June 1, UTSA has been actively supporting the SSA youth and adult community classes to ensure continuity through the final stages of the transition. SSA has been offering community art classes for more than 50 years; each year, these community outreach programs serve over 4,000 local students and another 5,000 youth in schools and social service agencies. The university is committed to continue offering these community programs, as well as exhibitions, lectures and events, including the Fiesta Arts Fair.
The UTSA-SSA integration also includes the creation of an expanded new UTSA school focused on advancing the arts that combines resources from both UTSA and SSA.
The new school, which will be organized under the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA), will be named later this summer, and a national search is underway to find its founding director. By combining faculty and resources, the new school will offer expanded opportunities for current and prospective art students. All of SSA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students have been accepted into the UTSA BFA program for fall 2022.
“We are so excited to continue to cultivate a thriving arts community for the benefit of all San Antonians,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “More broadly, with the combined faculty and staff expertise and resources of UTSA and SSA, this new school stands to become an exemplar for arts education with a deep local impact and a broad global reach.”
As part of the agreement, all SSA faculty and staff were offered employment at UTSA, and those who accepted their offer have now been welcomed to the university through the Bold New Journey employee orientation.
The university’s Talent Acquisition team worked closely with each employee to provide support through the transition process, conducting workshops and one-on-one meetings. Many employees will remain at the UTSA Southwest campus, while others will move to the Main Campus to support COLFA’s work in creating the new art school.
In the weeks ahead, new signage will be installed with the UTSA Southwest campus location name. As previously shared, the campus name and the name of the new merged school are separate and distinct matters.
Additionally, UTSA will begin work on a variety of infrastructure and facility projects, including enhancing internet capabilities. To support the safety of the campus community, parking lots will receive expanded security camera coverage, upgraded light fixtures and additional light poles. Also, select areas of parking lots will be resurfaced to improve accessibility. Each of these projects will follow UTSA’s standards, while also carefully considering the important historical features of the property.
“UTSA is honored to welcome the dedicated students, faculty and staff from SSA as our institutions formalize this partnership and move into the next phase of our journey together,” said Veronica Salazar, UTSA chief financial officer and senior vice president for business affairs. “The relationship between UTSA and SSA represents a strong and healthy partnership built upon our shared commitment to supporting student success and enhancing UTSA’s downtown impact as an exemplary urban-serving university of the future.”
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