As I write this, we are just, possibly, hopefully, starting to put the Covid-19 pandemic in the rear view mirror. We are emerging from an extended period of isolation, hardship, illness, and deprivation. Many are looking to the arts to make sense of what has happened, to alleviate our pain, to give us a path forward and to provide the glimmers of hope that indicate that we have survived and will thrive anew. And we are here to meet that challenge. As we welcome students, staff and faculty to the Visual Arts Center, some for the first time, some for the first time in a year and a half, they will find that not much has changed but in fact, everything has changed.
Let’s start with what has changed. Like most schools, we did our best to transition to remote learning on the fly and provide as close an approximation as possible to the face-to-face experience. As students and faculty, we learned that managing distance learning is just another tool to master and now have in our creative and professional arsenals. We have a new understanding of the challenges we each face in this environment but that we can overcome them together. And more importantly, we have a renewed appreciation for the value of the human touch and face-to-face interactions.
What hasn’t changed? The VAC still boasts some of the best art and design facilities in the 23 campus CSU system. Students can both put pencil to paper to sketch a live figure or put on a VR headset to virtually ‘sketch’ a figure. These two ends of the spectrum aptly illustrate the breadth and depth of what this department has to offer, from the most essential but time-tested materials to the latest in cutting edge technology. In between you will find myriad ways to bring your creativity to life: throwing clay on a wheel, applying paint to canvas, brainstorming about logos, refining user interfaces, gathering molten glass, capturing a fleeting image on film, expanding on the art historical canon, arranging pixels on a screen to create compelling branding and graphic identities, and countless others. Elsewhere on this website, you will find comprehensive listings of our facilities and our offerings, and I encourage you to explore those pages.
What else is constant? Our department’s mission to foster personal and artistic growth by promoting intellectual inquiry as we encourage and inspire our students to be the best creative minds they can be. Students that graduate from our various degree programs go on to become successful artists, designers, curators, entrepreneurs, influencers and educators. Many find work in local and regional museums, design firms, K-12 schools, art centers and studios, and many chart their own path to success. But no matter what title we ascribe to their chosen career path, we are confident that the Department of Art and Design has helped lay the groundwork in our students for a lifetime of creative inquiry.
Professor Katherine Gray
Chair, Department of Art & Design
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway, VA-105B