Why pursue a degree in the visual arts at Cal State Fullerton?

Visual artists, who awaken us to the wonders of the world, have affected our society in the most positive way. They challenge us to deal with social issues, they design and create objects of great beauty and functionality and they present textual and pictorial information to us in ways that inspire, educate and entertain.

This is an exciting time, and the Visual Arts Department at Cal State Fullerton is the right place to discover your potential! We pride ourselves upon being critically demanding and at the same time, supportive and nurturing. The faculty members of this department encourage each student to develop a philosophical and personal direction that will sustain them throughout their artistic careers.

What sets Cal State Fullerton’s program apart?

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredit the Visual Arts Department. This accreditation speaks volumes about the program, students, instructors and the superior quality and expertise in the discipline.

The faculty bring a diversity of backgrounds including advanced study from a wide range of institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, Virginia Commonwealth University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Iowa, UC Irvine, University of Southern California, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Syracuse University, Cal State Fullerton, Tyler School of Art – Temple University, Arizona State University, Penn State, University of Maryland, San Diego State, University of Delaware, University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of Michigan, California College of Arts and Crafts, Drake University, Art Center College of Design, and Cal State Long Beach.

Award winning, critically acclaimed and internationally recognized individuals make up the core of the faculty. Their work can be found in the collections of major museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Honolulu; Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Smithsonian American Crafts Museum, Washington, DC; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Joseph Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Oakland Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum; Kanazu Art Museum, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Photography; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian, Washington, DC; Corning Museum of Glass; Ebeltoft Glasmuseum, Denmark; Notojima Glass Museum, Japan; Laguna Museum of Art; The Internationals Museum of Photography, Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum of Art and Design; Long Beach Museum of Art; Los Angeles Museum of Neon Art; Racine Art Museum; Baltimore Museum of Art; Fogg Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; UCLA Armand Hammer Museum; and, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Fine art faculty members working in drawing, painting, photography, video, installation, sculpture, ceramics, glass, crafts and jewelry have exhibited in prestigious museums and galleries in Japan, England, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Italy, South America, and throughout North America. Reviews of their art have been published in national and international publications including Art News, Art Papers, New American Paintings, the International Sculpture Center Contemporanea, New Art Examiner, the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register. They have received awards from the Getty, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Los Angeles Metro Transit Authority.

Members of the animation, graphic design and illustration faculty have been published and exhibited in the New York Art Directors; Society of Illustrators, New York and Los Angeles; in film festivals worldwide including (those used as qualifying venues for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) the Rhode Island International Film Festival, the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival in London, and Filmstock in Debrecen, Germany; a professor in the CSUF graphic design program directly involves students in his scholarly publishing activities which include the widely used and internationally distributed Design Education in Progress: Process and Methodology, Volume 3, Visual Thinking and Color Management: A Comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers. Two of our animation faculty have won an Annie Awards (Wendy Grieb and Mike Dietz), a number of us have worked on Emmy, Oscar, and Annie nominated or winning productions.

The department faculty has been active in developing partnerships with corporate and public entities to enhance the educational and career opportunities of our students and alumni. The most developed of these interactions involves numerous companies participating in the department’s internship program serving approximately 200 students each year. Drawn from over 100 graphic design, apparel, food, packaging, advertising and other companies are art directors, creative directors, and studio representatives visiting the campus to speak with faculty and students and to review the portfolios of the internship students each semester and at the close of the summer session. Notable among studios in the business of entertainment content creation, promotion and delivery, and playing a key role with the department, are the Nickelodeon Animation and Walt Disney Studios. Cal State Fullerton’s Visual Arts Department holds the distinction of being the only public institution of higher education among 18 worldwide participants in The Walt Disney Company Partners in Education program.

Since 1999, Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art CenterOpens in new window (GCAC) has established a standard for excellence. The award winning live/work/exhibition/performance environment has featured several hundred exhibitions in its galleries, has hosted numerous artists in its artist-in-residence program, produced through its Grand Central Press close to 100 publications, and, with the sustained dedication of the Grand Central Forum Support Group, has produced many fine art prints of prominent and early-to-mid-career fine artists.

What exhibition opportunities are available for fine artists?

CSUF’s fine artists exhibit their two-dimensional, three-dimensional and digital art in international, national and regional venues. These include museums, commercial galleries, art fairs, university galleries, art and cultural centers, corporate and private collections, film festivals, and online publications. Alumni have exhibited at such places as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, P.P.O.W., White Cube (London), and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In Southern California, alumni art can be seen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, UCLA Hammer Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Ben Maltz Gallery, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Angels Gate, Side Street Projects, L.A.C.E., the Mountain Bar, and at the selected galleries Acuna-Hansen, D.E.N. Contemporary, Mark Moore, Western Projects, Robert Berhman, Koplin del Rio, and Patricia Correia. Still others organize and participate in international street painting festivals throughout Europe.

Available to students on campus are the Marilyn & Cline Duff, Leo Freedman Foundation, and Exit Galleries within the Visual Arts Complex. There are also the TSU Gallery in the Titan Student Union, the Atrium Gallery located in the Pollack Library, the Rental & Sales Gallery at the Grand Central Art Center, and numerous galleries within the nine square-block Artists Village of Santa Ana, CA. Some are affiliated with galleries in the greater Orange, Los Angeles and Inland Empire San Bernardino counties region of Southern California.

What successes have Cal State Fullerton Alumni achieved after graduation?

Dispersed throughout the nation, CSUF Department of Art Alumni are succeeding in the pursuit of their dreams. They have pursued their dreams with great success, establishing careers as fine and applied artists, professors, teachers, department heads and directors. Because artists are such great problem solvers, alumni can be found working in surprisingly varied businesses, both arts and non-arts related. Many alumni are working within arts organizations, commercial exhibition spaces, art libraries, art collections, non-profit organizations, cultural centers, and in arts and entertainment related industries. Many alumni actively exhibit their works in galleries and museums throughout the world and also receive grants, travel and residency awards. Many teach at schools, colleges and universities throughout this country and abroad. The strength of passion for what they do has allowed them to achieve Emmy’s for Special Effects in Television; awards in street painting in Italy and Holland; motion picture Key Art awards; awards of selection in international juried competitions, including the Biennale of Sidney; Istanbul Biennial; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Center for Creative Photography; Riverside Art Museum; NEUE GALERIE, Hannover, Germany; White Cube, London; Albright Knox Gallery of Art; Hood Museum of Art and even a portrait of the Pope by Mark Kostabi in Italy, October 2007.

Many others have created design studios and advertising agencies that employ from among the ranks of current students. The graphic novel stories of alumni have appeared in Nickelodeon Magazine, the Flight anthology, and in comics series published by DC and Dark Horse. Many more are currently working as animators, concept artists, CG supervisors and lighting directors, character animation directors, storyboard artists, special effects artists, modelers, sculptors, toy designers, character designers, and layout artists in the entertainment/animation industry at Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Film Roman, Disney Interactive, Cartoon Network, Disney Consumer Products, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Disney Entertainment, Zoic Studios, Disney Feature Animation, TOKYOPOP, Disney Television Animation, Titmouse, Warner Brothers TV Animation, DreamWorks, LucasFilm, Electronic Arts, Rhythm and Hues, Blue Sky, Pandemic, and many others. Graphic design alumni are or have been among the creative teams at the Designory, The Cimarron Group, BLT and Associates, Menagerie Creative, Apple, EarthLink, Landor Associates, Oakley, Billabong USA, Creative Domain, Jim Henson Company, Paul Frank, Ocean Pacific Apparel Corp., Edison International and Ingram Micro.

Where have Fullerton students achieved recognition?

All art students are encouraged to submit work to professional juried exhibitions and publications, with work often being selected for inclusion. Students in fine arts concentrations apply to regional and national competitions with tremendous successes. Their works have been exhibited at respected museums, galleries, and alternative spaces. Fine arts alumni have received awards, scholarships or residencies from the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, COLA Individual Artist Grants, the California Community Foundation, Anderson Ranch, Idllywild, William Randolph Hearst Fellowships and the Yale Summer Program. Many fine arts students have also pursued graduate degrees from Columbia University, Rutgers, New York University, Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons, Tyler School of Art, Claremont, UCLA, USC, University of New Mexico.

Students in animation, graphic design and illustration submit work annually to national and international competitions, frequently winning major awards. Their works have been included in Print magazine’s Annual International Student Cover Competition, Graphis New Talent Design Annual Design Awards, How International Design Annual Design Awards, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Annecy International Film Festival, CSU Media Arts Festival, the Lulu Awards in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Key Art Student Scholarship Competition, and the Society of Illustrator’s Student Scholarship Competitions both in Los Angeles and New York, Imagine FX, and CGSocieties.

What types of career opportunities are available?

The Los Angeles area is one of the nation’s major art centers with a broad range of opportunities in the fields of graphic design, entertainment promotion, film special effects, publication design, website and interactive design, video gaming and animation. Internships are required during the senior year in several concentrations. This on-the-job experience is often the first step to a permanent position following graduation. At the close of each semester, art directors from graphic design studios and advertising agencies, illustrators and artists (concept, storyboard, layout and background, CGI artists among many other specialists) from animation and video game studios are invited to review the portfolios of student interns

What degrees are offered?

Cal State Fullerton offers the Bachelor of Arts in Art with a choice of three concentrations: Art History, which emphasizes theory, analysis and criticism, General Studio Art, and Teaching. The degree requires completion of 120 units and the programs objectives are to provide correlative experiences, information and theory.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art offers concentrations in the following: Ceramics (including glass); Crafts (including jewelry, metalsmithing and wood); Creative Photography (video and installation); Drawing and Painting; Entertainment Art/Animation (traditional and digital); Graphic Design (including print-media and interactive design for CD-rom and web); Illustration (traditional and digital); and Sculpture. The BFA degree requires the completion of 132 units with minimum of 69 units in art, including 12 units in art history and 57 units in studio art.

Upon completion of four foundation courses, including two- and three-dimensional design, and beginning drawing and painting achieving with a “B” average, art students are able to focus their studies in one of the nine concentrations offered in each respective degree.

In addition, art majors must take Art 300, Writing in Visual Arts, and pass the university’s Examination in Writing Proficiency (EWP) after achieving junior standing (60 units). To earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art degree, students must achieve grades of “C” or better in all art courses for the degree. In addition to the requirements listed in the university catalog for the major, students must meet the other university requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Is there a portfolio requirement for admittance to the Visual Arts department?

Some university programs screen applicants by first reviewing a portfolio of artwork produced while in high school or at a community college. These institutions may have small or highly selective programs that can only accommodate a small number of new students each year.

This is not the case with the art undergraduate programs at CSUF (graduate programs do require a portfolio). Simply put, if you are admitted to the university you are admitted into the Bachelor of Art program: no portfolio or interview is required. There is a screen of sorts but it only applies if you choose to pursue one of the department's Bachelor of Fine Arts programs (illustration, animation, crafts, etc.), after you are a student in the program. The vast majority of our students pursue a BFA program.

We believe that students entering Cal State Fullerton will prove their capabilities by exhibiting strong performance in four core foundation classes with a “B” average or better. These courses include Art 103, Two-Dimensional Design, Art 104, Three-Dimensional Design, Art 107A, Beginning Drawing and Art 107B, Beginning Painting. If you come here as a freshman you'll take those classes during your first year; if a transfer student, you probably took all of or some of those classes at another institution. In this way performance is measured by what you do now. Students with limited access to quality preparatory instruction can be assured an opportunity to succeed and those with the benefit of quality public or private instruction can prove the strength of what they have achieved. No one is denied this opportunity for proving their capabilities to continue toward their desired goal. The foundation is where we begin and it prepares you with the knowledge and skill sets that you will carry forward and build upon throughout your BFA no matter which concentration you select.

Is a Credential program offered?

The department offers a Single Subject Credential Teaching Credential in Art Education. Students in the teaching concentration must also meet specific requirements for the desired teaching credential.

What facilities and amenities are available for art majors?

The Visual Arts complex is a village of six one and two story buildings surrounded by patios and terraces so that full use is made of outside and inside work areas in this mild climate. Planned spacious studios with specialized equipment and computers frame this environment so students have ready access to the right equipment to facilitate the process of bringing concept to reality.

Buildings A, B, and C are situated on the north edge of the complex and feature fully-equipped ceramic, glass, craft, jewelry and sculpture studios.

The southern building (E) houses the illustration and animation studios, video pencil test, digital ink and paint, stop motion and three 24 station Apple G-5 computer labs that provide a full range of 2 and 3D animation, illustration and digital photography and video-editing learning experiences. Also located in the building are fully equipped chemistry based black & white and color photo labs with large-scale color print processing capabilities.

The middle building (D) contains four 24-station graphic design computer labs including scanners and printers. All of the department’s computer labs are continually upgraded with the latest developments in hardware and software to support the curriculum.

Four galleries: two dedicated to graduate and one for undergraduates have weekly installations of individual and group exhibitions; the Begovich Gallery presents four major exhibitions each year with curatorial, exhibition design, construction and installation handled by exhibition design graduate students under the direction of the department’s Gallery Director. Gallery space exists in other locations on campus, including the Atrium Galleries in the Pollack Library North and the Titan Student Union.

Drawing and painting studios are located throughout the complex. Art history lecture spaces include a sate-of-the-art theatre style room with DVD, video, dual slide projection and computer overhead projection capabilities.

What are the special features of the CSUF Grand Central Art Center?

The Grand Central Art CenterOpens in new window is the result of an innovative alliance between California State University, Fullerton and the City of Santa Ana. The Grand Central Art Center is located at the heart of Santa Ana’s Artist Village, a nine-block area designated by the city and zoned for artist residences and arts-related businesses. Located in the Grand Central Building, which opened in the spring of 1999, the facility is designed to feature studio/living spaces for CSUF Department of Art graduate students. The studios can accommodate the needs of graduate students in most of the concentrations. The Center includes: artist living spaces, artist studios, computer labs, classrooms, gallery exhibition space, a sales and rental gallery and store, a printmaking studio, an artist-in-residence studio and exhibition space and a restaurant.

What scholarships are available?

All new and continuing art students are eligible for a number of scholarships funded through private donations, in addition to those available to the general student body. For information, please call the assistant dean’s office at (657) 278-3255 or the CSUF Office of Financial Aid, (657) 278-3125.

What student activities can I join?

Students are invited to join the following clubs: CSUF Ceramics Club, Graphic Design Club, Hot Glass Club, Pencil Mileage Club, Sculpture Club, Society of Museum Associates, Fine Art Society, and Camera Absurda. Student-run clubs provide majors unique opportunities to begin the process of networking with peers and guest artists and lecturers hosted on campus, and to share information about their particular fields.

Who advises me?

Full-time faculty members advise new and continuing students. For an advisement appointment and/or additional information, please call the Department of Art at (657) 278-3471. You are more than welcome to visit our department office, Visual Arts 102.

For information on arranging a tour of the department and facilities, please call the assistant dean’s office at (657) 278-3255.

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Last Published 4/4/22

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