Columbia, Mo.– The University of Missouri announced the creation of a new School of Visual Studies last Wednesday during a reception at Sager Braudis Gallery. The school combines four programs within the College of Arts and Science into one department. The programs include art, art history, digital storytelling and film studies.
The reorganization was timed to coincide with budget cuts to the university, but the idea originated long before that. Jo Stealey, director of the School of Visual Studies, first began planning the for school back in 2015. For Stealey, combining the programs just made sense.
“Art in the 21st century is very interdisciplinary,” Stealey said. “It’s also very collaborative. The merger will create more inventive educational opportunities for all students by linking disciplines that are already related to each other.”
One of the benefits of combining programs is creating a single community for all visual studies students and faculty. Pat Okker, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science, feels that the programs are stronger together than they are apart.
“The College of Arts and Science has the most areas of study out of any school at Mizzou,” Okker said. “The Visual Studies School creates a community for all visual arts students and faculty within the much larger college.”
The mission of the School of Visual Studies is to explore the visual arts in their full complexity through interdisciplinary studies in history, cultural theory, and foundations of practice.