University of Mississippi

Durant Thompson

Associate Professor of Art

MFA, Louisiana State University
BFA, The University of Tennessee




Durant Thompson is an Associate Professor of sculpture in the Department of Art at the University of Mississippi. In 1997, Durant received a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and in 2001 he earned an MFA in Sculpture from Louisiana State University. He has also worked at The Johnson Atelier School of Technical Sculpture in New Jersey and at the University of Southern Mississippi as a technician and instructor before accepting his current position.

Durant has been actively showing at exhibitions across the region over the past decade. His exhibition resume includes group or solo shows at The Seventeenth Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, the Fourth Outdoor Sculpture Biennial at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS, Art In Public Places Knoxville 2010 Exhibition and Competition, the 6th Annual AAC National Show Exhibition at the Atlanta Artist’s Center & Gallery, the Charles Hook Sculpture Garden Competition at The 621 Gallery in Tallahassee, FL, the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, MO, Space 301 in Birmingham, AL, Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, LA and The National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, TN. Current and future exhibits include Sculpture Salmagundi XV at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center in Rocky Mount, NC, the Hattiesburg Train Depot Gallery in Hattiesburg, MS, the ULM Sculpture Park at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Art In Public Places Knoxville 2011 Exhibition and Competition in Knoxville, TN and the Bi-State Art Competition at the Meridian Museum of Art in Meridian, MS.

Recently Durant participated in national conferences giving panel presentations at the Southeastern College Arts Conference in New Orleans, LA and Charleston, WV. He has been the panel moderator for discussions at the 5th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in 2006 at Telford, England and the 6th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in 2010 at Kidwelly, Wales.
This past year Durant was asked to participate on the steering committees for the 2011 National Conference on Cast Iron Art at Sloss Furnace National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, AL and the upcoming 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art in 2014.

Durant has given lectures on his work at Northwest Missouri State University, Jackson State University, University of Mississippi Museum, the University of Louisiana Monroe, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Tennessee and Louisiana State University. He has also conducted workshops at the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, TN, the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS, the Keen Foundry Symposium in Houston, TX and the Johnson Atelier School of Technical Sculpture in Mercerville, NJ.

This past summer Durant was awarded a 2011 Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship through funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.  He was also awarded best in show at Knoxville’s Emporium Center for the Art’s Nexus Exhibition in 2011 which was juried by well-known Chattanooga sculptor John Henry.

Virginia Rougon Chavis


Chair, Professor of Art
Graphic Design/Web Design

MFA, Savannah College of Art & Design
BA, The University of Mississippi



Virginia Rougon Chavis, originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has been a part of the Art Department faculty at The University of Mississippi since January of 2002. She is an Associate Professor of Art and received her MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, where she gained experience in teaching Typography and Production Design.

At The University of Mississippi, Virginia teaches graphic design and web design courses on a Macintosh platform. She has recently started a letterpress program in the Department, where students combine graphic design and printmaking skills using movable lead type. Her specialties include typography and anything printed. She maintains the Graphic Design Computer Lab, which can accommodate students with their own laptop computers. She is the advisor to student Lab Monitors, BFA Coordinator, AIGA student group faculty advisor and Art Department Summer Advisor. She also oversees the Graphic Design program in the Department and is a Liberal Arts Faculty Representative on the Curriculum & Policy Committee.

When Virginia is not teaching, she works a freelance designer and actively enters professional design competitions/exhibitions at the regional, national and international level. She has presented papers at the Southeastern College Art Conference and various AIGA events. She has held AIGA chair positions in the Memphis and New Orleans chapters. She developed Design Week at The University of Mississippi, which has had such keynote speakers as Gary Baseman and Hank Richardson and is now a regional event. One of her typography assignments was published in Ilene Strizver’s, Type Rules!: The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography. She belongs to professional organizations such as CAA, SECAC and AIGA.

Her personal work generally combines digital and traditional processes to illustrate a concept. Using her design and computer skills, Virginia is able to incorporate clean, crisp lines and sometimes text. These images are then transformed into vehicles for serigraph (silk screen) and relief (block print) techniques. The hands-on process of layering ink on paper is critical. Upon completion of the work, stitching incorporated. It is both functional and aesthetic, as it holds pieces of the paper together in sort of a quilt-like manner.

Her work has been shown in exhibitions/publications such as: HOW Magazine (13th Annual International Design Annual), (Online Exhibition, Philadelphia PA), SUMEI National Print Exhibition (Sumei Multidisciplinary Art Center, Newark, NJ), Works of Heart (MCA Art Gallery, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN), Southside Art Gallery (Oxford, MS), Los Angeles Center For Digital Art (Los Angeles, CA), Contemporary VI International Exhibition (Period Gallery, Lincoln, NE), Gallery AD (Savannah, GA), Slocumb Galleries (East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN), McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition Abercrombie Gallery (Lake Charles, LA), Farmington Museum, Farmington, NM, Brooklyn Art Library (Brooklyn, NY)