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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

About Us

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
        Concentration – Expanded Media Arts:
                  •  Printmaking & Imaging Arts 
        Concentration – Fine Art:
                  • CeramicsGraphic DesignPainting, and Sculpture
Master of Fine Arts in Art
        Emphases in:
                  • CeramicsPaintingPrintmaking, and Sculpture

Mission Statement

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.

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

We create art, teach, learn, curate, research, write, and support all these activities with a shared commitment to generate a positive difference in society. We acknowledge that excellence and equity are natural products of embracing our diversity and learning from all of our different life experiences and points of view. Therefore, the Department of Art and Art History is committed to creating a caring and welcoming community that embraces diversity and empowers everyone to learn, work, and do their very best. Our community shares values that include belonging, acceptance, integrity, and a respect for a diversity of races, colors, gender identities and expressions, parental statuses, sexual orientations, religions, veteran status, physical abilities, economic backgrounds, body types, citizenship status, age, and/or nationalities. Our community rejects white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and other dogmas of hate, intolerance, prejudice, and exclusion.

Because our past is an undeniable part of our present, we acknowledge and encourage reflection upon the fact that we inhabit the ancestral lands of the Chickasaw indigenous people, and we are keenly aware that we study and work at a campus founded on colonized land and was originally constructed using the labor of enslaved people. Our community of openness believes that many present inequities stem from our institution’s problematic history and its inequitable power paradigms, and we are committed to correcting them and the biases – implicit and explicit – that have been inherited from our past.

Our community of openness prepares students to become vigorous contributors to globally responsible art-making and art-historical practices that share and advance these values.


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

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.

Photo of the front of Meek Hall