Stephen F. Austin State University

Art History

There are four things that one should look for in choosing a university to study art:

  1. Does the art school have a highly qualified faculty of active artists dedicated to the art of teaching?

    SFA School of Art faculty graduated from top-ranked institutions such as Cranbrook, Yale, and the Rhode Island School of Design. SFA faculty achievements include two Regents Professorships, two Teaching Excellence Awards and two Emmy nominations.

  2. Does the art school have high-quality equipment accessible to students in facilities with maximum effectiveness of instruction while minimizing health and physical hazards?

    The SFA School of Art has comprehensive 2-D and 3-D studio facilities, which include painting and drawing studios, both traditional darkroom and digital photography labs, advertising design and digital media labs, a foundry that includes casting in metal and glass, and outstanding gallery spaces. Our wood and metal shops are fully equipped and managed by a full-time foreman and safety officer with a perfect safety record.

  3. Does the art school offer programs and curricula that will serve your educational needs and career goals?

    SFA art students can explore just about any medium. We offer a complete curriculum with emphases in painting & drawing, sculpture, digital media, advertising art, art education, printmaking, jewelry and metalwork, photography, cinematography, or art history. We are big enough to offer everything, yet small enough to give students individualized attention. We also have outstanding gallery spaces and host two national juried exhibitions, the Texas National and Refined, which exposes our students to contemporary art and artists from throughout the United States.

  4. Does the art school have a reputation for success of its graduates?

    SFA School of Art graduates are successful. An SFA advertising design graduate is working on illustrations for books by Steve Martin, LeeAnn Rimes, and Billy Crystal. A former photography student has been featured on CNN and is working on a documentary about his work. The David Letterman Show uses paintings by an SFA grad as backdrops for guest musical acts. SFA grads regularly work as directors, editors and cinematographers for major motion pictures projects. And SFA School of Art alumni teach at high schools and colleges throughout Texas.

    Here are a few links to SFA alumni web sites:

Why SFA?

Because SFA can answer "yes" to all these critical questions. The SFA School of Art serves the needs of some 260 undergraduate art majors and more than 20 graduate students. All of SFA's 18 full-time art faculty members hold advanced degrees from prestigious colleges and universities and are active professionals, with proven performance as artists, scholars and educators. Dedicated to excellence in teaching, they all care for their students and can provide the kind of instruction that has enabled a large percentage of SFA graduates to achieve success as professional artists, historians or teachers. SFA is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and has assessment procedures in place that assure both the programs and the faculty remain effective and vital.

At SFA you will find a wide choice of curricular programs that serve a variety of educational and career interests. You also will have access to spacious studio classrooms that are professionally equipped and designed to facilitate the development of your talent. The School of Art provides assistance with internships, study abroad and other purposeful activities that can enlarge your educational experience.

The Art Center & SFA Galleries

The School of Art presents several important public art exhibitions throughout the year in a state-of-the-art off-campus art space, the Cole Art Center at the Old Opera House, which is conveniently located in the historic district of downtown Nacogdoches. The Cole Art Center also hosts films, guest lectures, musical performances, poetry readings and other events. The School of Art operates four galleries on campus to support instruction. The largest of these, located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, is a public gallery that features exhibitions ranging from Old Master to contemporary art. The second gallery is located in the Art Building and features exhibitions of both contemporary visiting artists and exhibitions of students' work. A third gallery is reserved for short-term student exhibitions and critique sessions that enable students and faculty to view and consider their work in a gallery setting. A fourth gallery in the upper art studio is for student installations and other student exhibitions.

Degree Programs

SFA offers a B.A. degree program in art history for those who wish to study art as an academic discipline. This approach to the study of art is usually followed with further study at the graduate level and may lead to careers in college-level teaching, museum curation, gallery or corporate collections management, art publishing, or art conservation. This curriculum requires a major of 40 hours in art and art history, four semesters of a foreign language and a minor of 18-21 hours in a field other than art.

Not sure you have what it takes?

Talent isn't everything. Motivation and interest, combined with excellent instruction, may enable you to achieve more than you might think possible. If you are willing to work hard, have an open mind and are receptive to instruction, the faculty at SFA can provide the education you need for a career in an art field of your choice. All art programs at SFA stress independence, self-reliance, hard work and creative and analytical thinking. The entrepreneurial spirit is integral to the working processes that are part of every art class. When one considers the extent to which our society is dominated by images of all kinds, it is easy to understand the economic potential that exists for those who can combine these traditional American values with knowledge and skill in the art of creating and manipulating images.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at or 936.468.4804.