California State University, San Bernardino is perfectly situated about one hour from everywhere and nowhere. We live and work in a climate of diversity, where unique and rich environmental and societal experiences are plentiful. With the endless sprawl and cultural stimulation of Los Angeles, the expansive space and quiet of the desert, the power and vastness of the Pacific, and the beauty and grandeur of the mountains, our proximity allows for the balance of the (sub)urban and the rural, the fabricated and natural, the energetic and serene. We are close enough to Los Angeles to have the advantages and inspiring challenges associated with a major urban art scene and the sufficient distance and freedom to define our own ideas and identity.
I have often heard our department referred to as "the best kept secret" from a student, or visitor discovering us for the first time. For nearly 40 years the art department has been a vital creative force, educating emerging artists, designers, educators and historians who energize and influence the Inland Empire, the greater California region, and beyond. This is a testament to our superb art faculty who tirelessly give of themselves to our students and community.
The art department humbly began in the late 1960s with a handful of talented and ambitious artists and scholars struggling to make-do in the basement of the biology building and later a remodeled cafeteria and commons. The founding art faculty distinguished themselves through excellence in teaching and giving students individual attention in small classes. They built a program that balanced the essential traditions of history, theory, and practice (in the fine arts and crafts) with an emphasis on experimentation, cross-disciplinary study, and independent thought and vision. Art was one of the first of three departments in what was then California State College, San Bernardino to gain national accreditation and we have maintained those professional standards with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) ever since. In the 80s demand grew in our region for a more comprehensive and contemporary program, which brought art education, photography, graphic design and new genres into the curriculum. The department had long outgrown its limited facilities, and after a decade of planning, in 1996, it moved into our 100,000-square-foot Visual Arts Center with facilities and equipment that art faculty and students usually only dream of.
Now, with the last of the original faculty retired in 2003, the current faculty is writing the next chapter in the department's life. We are building on our predecessor's great efforts and solid foundation as we bring new and innovative ideas, approaches and curriculum to our students. These ideas and approaches come from the wealth of knowledge and experience our faculty have acquired as working professional artists, designers, and scholars with an awareness of contemporary practices and foresight for the future. The department offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in art. Our B. A. in Art degree program offers specializations in graphic design, graphic design and marketing, art education, art history, and the studio arts (with courses in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, printmaking, furniture design, and new genres). The M.A. in Art degree focuses on the studio arts. As the department grows and evolves, several things remain the same and true to our founding ideals - a commitment to small class size, individualized directed study, an outstanding teaching and learning environment, and an emphasis on studying art within the broadest context. Ours is a supportive and creative climate that encourages our students to discover (or uncover) their own voice and vision, providing them with the necessary tools to be competitive in their respective art fields and contribute widely to our visual culture.
The art faculty has a strong commitment to excellence and a high level of accomplishment in their fields of expertise. They are a dynamic group whose artworks are internationally exhibited and collected, and whose scholarly research is widely presented and published. Additionally, they have gained important design and public art commissions and have received prestigious competitive awards, grants and fellowships.
Our department's collective vision expands to meet the challenges of new ideas and technologies as we cross and develop hybrid disciplines and explore wider terrains. We journey through an ever-changing landscape occupied with expectation and promise. The Art Department welcomes students who are ready to meet this exciting challenge and be part of an exceptional art community and creative learning environment.
Chair, Department of Art