The Department of Art & Art History at the University of Mississippi offers four degree programs:
Bachelor of Arts in Art
Bachelor of Arts in Art History
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art
• Ceramics, Graphic Design, Imaging Arts, Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture
Master of Fine Arts in Art
• Ceramics, Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture
The Department of Art & Art History is committed to developing a foundation for understanding art history and studio art methodologies through focus on hands-on, practical, and theoretical approaches. The department promotes a broad, yet thorough education in the arts in a Liberal Arts context, that through undergraduate and graduate programs yield highly qualified life-long learners with effective creative problem solving, critical thinking, visual and verbal and written communication skills. It also serves the educational needs of studio art and art history majors and a diverse clientele, while recognizing the value of the individual. It supports a highly qualified faculty and staff while providing an environment that encourages scholarly and creative development. New technology is integrated into an atmosphere that stresses effective technical skills, and creates a community of individuals who provide service to their discipline and the larger community through the application and dissemination of expertise and knowledge.
The Department of Art & Art History was established in 1948, one hundred years after the university first offered classes. The department was the result of years of effort by then Chancellor J. D. Williams who was awarded a grant from the General Education Board, a branch of the Rockefeller Foundation, to study the feasibility of an art school in Mississippi. The result was the first public art department in the state.
Under the first chair, Stuart R. Purser, the department offered bachelor’s degrees in two disciplines, art education and studio arts. The degree offerings were expanded with the establishment of the Master of Fine Arts degree in 1952, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1954, and the Bachelor of Arts in Art History in 1974.
In 1981, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning assigned to the department the mission role to develop art within the state and to become nationally competitive. In 1982, the department received initial accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
When the Department of Art & Art History was located in either Bryant Hall or Brevard Hall (Old Chemistry)
Meek Hall was built in 1959–1960 in the Bauhaus style. The building was named for Elma Meek, the student who submitted the name Ole Miss for the name of the annual yearbook; Ole Miss subsequently became synonymous with the University of Mississippi. Meek Hall originally housed the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and later the Department of Music. The Department of Art & Art History moved to Meek Hall starting in 2002 from Old Chemistry (now, Brevard Hall) and Bryant Hall.