Beacon News

Announcing a New Major: Studio Arts

| Course Offerings, News

SACS photoWe are excited to announce the long anticipated SACS approval of our Studio Arts major. Planning for implementation of this major began in November of 2011, when Dr. Chandler and art professors Van Galyon and Russ Bellamy noticed considerable student interest in this field. They have worked diligently in the intervening years to design the curriculum and secure necessary space and equipment.

There is research to suggest that there is a link between learning disabilities and creativity, making a major in art a necessity for Beacon College to cater to our population. Dyslexic artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Chuck Close have made names for themselves in the field, and they provide inspiration for students with learning disabilities. Current students have been anxiously awaiting the approval of this major. Junior Chuck Novak says, “I am excited to now pursue my major.” Even Chuck’s mom, Ceil Novak, could not contain her enthusiasm, saying, “[We are] jumping for joy in Illinois! Congratulations! Well done!”

To accommodate students in this field, an entire building has been dedicated to this major. There is new equipment for drawing, ceramics, painting, and sculpture. There will also be space allocated for stained glass, as well as open studio hours for students to work on homework and their own projects. A gallery space has been created for regional and national artists who will be invited to display their work both for students to appreciate and to learn from. As a requirement of the major in Studio Arts, students will have to exhibit their own work in order to graduate. This will be a component of the capstone for the major. There is also a plan to have juried shows that will be open to all students.

Many current students have already been working toward earning a minor in art, so they are familiar with the curriculum and the expectations from this field. Those choosing this major will focus on specific concentrations such as painting or sculpture and are expected to advance to 4000 level courses in their chosen medium. Topic areas will range from metal sculpture to installation to performance art. There will continue to be an emphasis on contemporary art, as the goal, according to Russ Bellamy, Assistant Professor of Art, is to “teach students to be forerunners in the field.”

Students can begin signing up for this major immediately, and it is expected that a small group will choose to do so. It is anticipated that the first student may graduate from this program as early as this spring. The goal is to have between 15-20 students enrolled in the major in its second full year. Dr. Chandler, Vice President of Academic Affairs, is pleased with the implementation of the new major, saying, “After almost two years of paperwork, preparation, correspondence, and waiting, SACS-COC approved the Studio Arts major! Our new Studio Arts Building is opening, and it is now time to watch the major grow.”


Upperclassmen Becca Rasmussen and Chuck Novak have been waiting for the day to declare themselves Studio Arts majors! Here they show off their work and talk excitedly about what the future holds.

For more information on the Studio Arts major and the requirements for it, contact the Office of Admissions at 855-220-5376 or

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