Studio Art (BFA)

Pursue a lifetime of art making. Develop a cohesive portfolio for gallery representation or plan for a master’s program.

Available as
Bachelor of Fine Arts
4 years
Fort Wayne
Available Concentrations
2D, 3D, and Photography

Why Earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts?

The arts have the capacity to bring us together, to provide spiritual and emotional nourishment, and to open us up to new possibilities and solutions. Artists help us reconceptualize and make sense of our world. As we face rapidly changing technology, environmental degradation, and social and economic unrest, we need the power of the arts more than ever to translate our experiences into renewing and revitalizing creative energy.

Why Saint Francis for your Bachelor of Fine Arts?

Saint Francis’ BFA offers a more intense studio art experience than our BA program. You’ll have the chance to develop your portfolio in a focused and robust way, setting the stage for success in grad programs and your professional career.

Our BFA program is designed for students who want to pursue a graduate degree in art or launch a professional fine arts career. Our program provides more in-depth technical and conceptual training through a high concentration of studio coursework.

Our faculty members are not just experienced; they’re connected. With ties to galleries, museums, and art industries globally, you’ll be part of a network that spans the country and the world.

Explore Your Creativity: Courses and Concentrations

In your core art courses, you’ll develop your composition skills and build your technique. You can then hone your talents in one of three concentration areas:

2-D art courses:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Illustration

3-D art courses:

  • Ceramics
  • Metalcraft
  • Fibers
  • Sculpture

Photography courses:

  • Digital photography
  • Traditional darkroom
  • Lighting
  • Digital imaging

Real-World Learning Opportunities: Art Internships & Community Service

Artwork that Works. 

Studio art majors build their portfolios and gain professional experiences through internships at galleries, museums, schools, nonprofit organizations, independent artist studios, and other locations. Recent examples include BFA Commercial Photography, South Bend Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Artlink Contemporary Gallery, and Northside Galleries.

Art that is Good for the Community

Art majors also participate in project-based learning that benefits the community; recent projects include:

  • Through a partnership with the Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities, students photographed and displayed portraits of clients that highlighted their strengths and capacities.
  • Communication and Studio Art majors collaborated with the League for the Blind and Disabled to create an exhibition of original work. “Sensing Beauty: A Multi-Sensory Art Experience” featured art and photography cultivated from interviews with sight-impaired clients who described their concepts of beauty.
  • In partnership with the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District and Art This Way Alley Activation Project, art students created a large-scale mural and were trained in how to engage communities through public art.
  • Students who add the Community Arts Service and Engagement minor (CASE) are given specific training and project opportunities in various forms of community art projects.

Meet Our Faculty-Artists

As a studio art major, you’ll get personalized attention and learn from accomplished, working artists with a range of educational, professional and artistic backgrounds, including:

Eric D Carlson earned his BFA in ceramics and jewelry from Illinois State University and an MFA in ceramics and fibers from the University of Missouri–Columbia. His passion is ceramics, which he often combines with other materials, like metal, fiber, and wood. His art process is closely connected to his blue-collar upbringing.

Steve Garst is an artist, educator, and small business owner with interests in printmaking, book arts, and socially engaged art. He earned his BFA from Ball State University and his MFA from Miami University.

Tim Parsley, program director and associate professor of studio art (painting and drawing), earned his BFA from the University of Cincinnati and his MFA from Miami University. In addition to his work as an artist and art educator, he is a professional muralist who has created large-scale murals in Fort Wayne, Cincinnati, New York City, and Nairobi, Kenya.

Cara Lee Wade’s life changed when she first entered the darkroom; now, as an associate professor of photography, she shares her passion with students. She earned her MFA in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Career Opportunities: Where a Studio Art Program Can Take You

Bring your creativity to life in a collage of career opportunities in:

  • Commercial studios
  • Schools and educational environments
  • Photography studios
  • Marketing and advertising agencies 
  • Media outlets
  • Museums and galleries
  • Publishing
  • Retail and merchandising
  • Illustration and design
  • Technical theatre
  • Professional artist
  • Arts nonprofits
  • Community art

Possible roles and job titles:

  • Painter
  • Sculptor
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer teacher
  • Art therapist
  • Graphic designer
  • Museum curator
  • Art director
  • Animator
  • Industrial designer
  • Interior designer

Where You’ll Find Our Graduates

USF Studio Art graduates are making, creating, teaching, designing, curating, and managing projects in places such as:

  • Britton Marketing & Design Group (art director)
  • Brumbeloe Fine Art Photography
  • BFA Commercial Photography
  • Cornerstone Schools (art teacher)
  • Creative Life Magazine (assistant editor)
  • Fort Wayne Civic Theater (prop master)
  • Fort Wayne Museum of Art
  • Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum (assistant director)
  • Hillsborough Community College (gallery director)
  • Indiana Tech (creative director)
  • Lure Creative Design (lead designer)
  • LUC Illuminaire (creative brand strategy manager)
  • SwitchedOn Training Inc. (user experience designer)
  • The TAG Art Company
  • Vera Bradley (assistant art director)

They also own studios, run art collectives, and work as independent artists and makers, freelance photographers and designers, and private art teachers and instructors throughout the region and around the country.

Some USF art majors and minors pursue graduate programs and have been accepted into MFA programs at schools such as:

  • Ohio University (Ph.D., interdisciplinary arts)
  • Kendall College of Art and Design (MFA, photography and painting)
  • Coluusfs College of Art and Design (MFA, photography)
  • Miami University (MFA, painting)
  • Illinois State University (MFA, ceramics)
  • University College, Dublin, Ireland (Museum Archives and Records Management)

Learn more about what makes life at Saint Francis so special.