Meera Komarraju: SIU’s School of Art and Design Integrates Traditional and Futuristic | Education

Meera Komarraju: SIU’s School of Art and Design Integrates Traditional and Futuristic | Education

 Across six buildings, three degree programs (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts), and thirteen areas of study, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Art and Design continues training artists, designers, educators and historians with the traditional foundations of art and design. It is also stepping into the future by integrating contemporary societal issues, technology, collaborative practices and experimentation into the school’s already rich curriculum.

Still the lifeblood of any school of art and design, the drawing and painting areas provide the skills needed to communicate ideas and represent the world through projection, websites and installations.

Art Education students and faculty are integrating contemporary teaching practices into their lesson plans while also addressing environmental concerns and social justice topics into its programming. Art History students are exploring art through a global lens to gain exposure to less-recognized artists.

Design, Virtual Reality, Digital Technology

The ceramics area is pushing the envelope of clay. Using 3d printing in innovative ways, students and faculty are creating one-of-a-kind objects while also exploring small-run and mass production concepts.

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Glass students and faculty keep expanding the field of design through experimentation. This includes combining photography with flameworking, and creating mixed media work that combines materials such as silicone, fiberglass, hair, steel and bronze with glass.

The school is expanding its footprint in the field of 2d and 3d digital media. Students are exploring time-based media art, motion graphics, video editing, animation and rendering. Communication Design students are at the cutting edge of branding and graphic design through the integration of augmented reality and projection mapping into their projects.

Photography is embracing the growing power of the smart phone through a course focused on its use. Students are encouraged to build on their knowledge of traditional image making with new and emerging digital technology and output opportunities.

Students Gain Important Skills

Through faculty grants as well as students’ and clients’ research projects, Industrial Design students and faculty explore concept development using the virtual reality sketching tool Gravity Sketch. The software helps bring Adirondack and café seating concepts to life in the virtual environment.

Combining traditional expertise and experimentation, the small metals and blacksmithing areas are training students in new ways to forge, twist, weld, solder, anneal, cast and repoussé metal into functional art and fine art. 

Printmaking students are using a laser cutter to extend the traditional processes of etching, lithography, screen printing and wood-cut printmaking into their design work. 

Toward broadening the notion of art, the sculpture area’s students and faculty are going beyond the constraints of a specific medium, utilizing CNC machines, a foundry and 3d modeling software to help visualize and create their individual visions.

As you have just read, it is an exciting time to belong to the School of Art and Design!

Meera Komarraju is the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.