Arts & Entertainment

Department of art and art history undergoes rebranding

By Carley Wise
Contributing Writer

Major changes are on the rise in the art & art history program at KU. Currently, they are in the works of rebranding not only their name but their curriculum as well. This includes reworking the studio art and fine art majors to include crafts such as fiber and material studies, ceramics, wood and jewelry. The rebranding will open many doors for positive growth for the art department.

The decision to merge crafts from the art education department to the art & art history department was made July 1 of this year. One of the most important reasons this change occurred was that it allowed all studio areas to be under one roof. and also gave a great opportunity to shed new light on both departments. The department of art & art history is on its way to become the department of art, separate from the department of art education so that it can focus better on its new programs. 

According to the department chair, Daniel Haxall, this merger has now changed studio art from six areas of specialization to 10. Because of this, they are redoing the entire curriculum for studio art as a major. This will allow studio art majors to get a taste of all areas of the department or focus more specifically on one. This will only affect the current first-year students, but if the new check sheet will benefit upperclassman, they will be able to switch over. Haxall hopes to have the new curriculum in place by next fall semester. 

The applied digital arts major is also a newer major in the art department. This major includes animation and game art. Both applied digital arts and art history are in their fourth year here at KU. This upcoming May will hold the first real class of graduates within both of these majors. 

The department of art, on its path to rebranding, is looking to both faculty and students for the support and help in creating a new face for themselves. The merger will enable the department to focus better on their core curriculum. Haxall plans on more opportunities for crossovers with other organizations and departments. 

Merging crafts has also made the art department larger, increasing both its faculty and student numbers. It was up to the faculty that switched departments whether or not they wanted to move over to the art department. Haxall has used their opinions and ideas throughout their rebranding process and looks forward to working with them.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

1 reply »

  1. I think it would be more accurate to say that the two departments have been reorganized rather than rebranded. This change reflects contemporary critical theory that calls for crafts and the decorative arts to be no longer treated as second-class citizens to the fine arts. That is the most important aspect of this change. Also, if you were to consult the program for the May 2019 Commencement, you would see that four students received the B.A. in Art History degree last May. I wonder how they would feel about your characterization of them as not being “real.”