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May 09, 2016
With a new art building that will offer expanded resources on the horizon, a high degree of student interest, and faculty with award-winning professional experience in the field, the time was right for Knox's Department of Art and Art History to add a minor in design.
Mark Holmes, associate professor and chair of the art program, says that the ability to manipulate visual relationships and put together compelling presentations, websites, and print communications is increasingly a skill set that needs to be brought into any workplace.
"It will give our students an edge, professionally, to say, ‘I can write and I know how to work with visual form'—it's part of the ability to communicate in a modern economy."
The new $8.9 million Whitcomb Art Building, scheduled to open during the 2016-17 academic year, will include a dedicated design studio and a fully equipped Mac lab with 20 work stations. Additional technology of interest to design students will be laser cutters and large format plotting printers, so students can produce their work on a large scale. The department will also be adding a letterpress, a form of printing that can be used to self-publish short runs of custom books.
Leading the development of the new minor is Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Tim Stedman. Before coming to Knox, Stedman was creative director at MCA Records, where he was responsible for primary visual imaging for Lyle Lovett, Blink 182, and other artists and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Album Recording Package.
"We've always felt that design should be taught by somebody who has the applied knowledge in a professional context," said Holmes. "Having someone who has worked at that level offers our students a unique opportunity."
For students who want to go on to a career in design, a major in studio art and minor in design will give them the preparation they need for graduate school and design professions. The minor will also complement any other major Knox offers. "I can't see an area where design wouldn't be relevant," says Holmes.
While few liberal arts colleges offer minors in design, Holmes feels Knox is the perfect place for students to study the subject—where they can develop a closer relationship with faculty, have more opportunities to apply what they learn, and are saturated in a world of ideas coming from other courses. "Students have this rich field of ideas that they bring into their work, which really stimulates and challenges their work in interesting ways."
Design is the fourth minor that Knox has added to its curriculum this spring. Other new minors include health studies, statistics, and astronomy.
The new Whitcomb Art Building, scheduled to open during the 2016-17 academic year, will include a dedicated design studio.
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