Thursday, May 30, 2024

UTSA grows community art programming at Southwest Campus

UTSA grows community art programming at Southwest Campus

AUGUST 4, 2022 — The University of Texas at San Antonio is offering a wide range of community art programs this fall as a result of the union with the Southwest School of Art (SSA) that was finalized on July 1.

The partnership creates an expanded arts education program that reaches all levels of students and adds youth and adult community classes to the existing arts degree programs that are available at UTSA.

The community art programs, which have been at the core of SSA’s mission for nearly 50 years, will remain a top priority under UTSA’s leadership. Classes will be taught at the school’s picturesque downtown location — now known as the UTSA Southwest Campus — giving students access to state-of-the-art studios and equipment located inside the historic buildings on the campus.

“We’ll be able to reach even more students who are looking for a quality art education, whether they’re a budding young artist or a degree-seeking college student.”

In collaboration with the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts, all community art programs are supported by UTSA Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) — a unit within the division of Academic Innovation that encourages lifelong learning and professional development for students at all stages of their educational journey. The community art classes join PaCE’s existing programs, which include business, information technology, communication and other areas of study. 

“We’re excited to grow and add more resources to an already exceptional community art program as these classes join UTSA PaCE,” said Melissa Mahan, associate vice provost for academic innovation at UTSA. “In collaboration with the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, we’ll be able to reach even more students who are looking for a quality art education, whether they’re a budding young artist or a degree-seeking college student.”

Historically, the community art programming reaches more than 4,000 people annually. These classes will continue to play an important role in art education for students of all ages and skill levels around the city. UTSA is committed to maintaining the classes and instructors that students have loved for so many years and hopes to increase these offerings in the future.

“There’s a camaraderie among our instructors and students that has created a really special learning environment over the years that we’re excited to continue,” said Barbara Hill, who now serves as director of adult community programs for PaCE.

Students enrolled in the community art classes this fall will have a unique opportunity to interact with UTSA’s art majors. An internship program will give the university’s degree-seeking fine arts students experience assisting in the coordination and instruction of the community classes.

“Instructing others in the art-making process can play an important role in an artist’s personal and professional development,” said Libby Rowe, photography professor and incoming chair of the UTSA Department of Art and Art History. “Not only is teaching others inspirational, but it can also help you expand your own creative practice and research. Undergraduate students who choose to take an internship working with PaCE will be able to hone their craft while learning how to teach.”

This new program adds yet another internship opportunity for UTSA fine arts students, and advances the university’s Classroom to Career initiative, which provides students with hands-on, real-world educational experiences to prepare them for success after college.

UTSA is committed to advancing arts education across San Antonio. Along with continuing existing public art programs, UTSA plans to build upon the school’s partnership with the San Antonio Library for events like the annual San Antonio Book Festival and continue hosting the Fiesta Arts Fair, which showcases the work of over 100 artists from across the country each April during Fiesta. In addition, UTSA will maintain connections with local school districts to offer programs for area students interested in the arts.  

An open house will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 11 at the Southwest Campus’ Santikos Building to welcome back community students and to provide registration and class information for UTSA’s public art programs. Registration for the fall session of community classes will begin in August, with numerous options offered year-round for children, teens and adults.

Youth programs for the fall include:

  • Youth & Teen Art Studios: Classes in a variety of media for ages 8-18
  • Teen Studio Intensive: An extended program geared towards middle and high school students with a strong interest in visual arts to develop their skills and portfolio
  • Saturday Morning Discovery: A hands-on experience that introduces young artists to sculpture, drawing and painting, printmaking, and other media at no charge
  • Mobile Arts Program: A program that takes art directly to the community by mobilizing art teachers and sending them to area schools, shelters, community centers, and libraries. Students learn color theory, composition, and more through various media.

Learn more about the UTSA+SSA partnership

Adult art programs will include courses in ceramics, drawing and painting, printmaking, photography and other media.  

The completed integration of these two institutions elevates creative literacy and increases community engagement with the arts through expanded teaching, studio spaces, exhibitions and events. It will also advance UTSA’s progress towards its three strategic destinations by strengthening its presence as a growing, urban-serving university focused on student success.

Chloe Johnson

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