Studio Art Program Director Claudia Wilburn talks to interior design student Carmen Garcia-Pitarch Lopez. Both programs are part of the Center for the Arts & Design at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau announces Center for the Arts & Design

May 29, 2018
Kristen Bowman

Brenau University recently announced creation of the Center for the Arts & Design, a collection of the university’s esteemed programs providing student-centered art and design education based on inquiry and innovation.

The umbrella program is a collaboration of the Art & Design Department, which is comprised of studio art, fashion design and fashion merchandising programs, as well as the Interior Design Department and Brenau University Galleries.

“Brenau has for many years boasted some of the finest art and design programs in the region,” said the university’s President Ed Schrader. “The Center for the Arts & Design will promote interdisciplinary cooperation and further greater access to academic programs and professional development opportunities for students and faculty. It also expands our ability to share with the world all the extraordinary things being done in Brenau arts programs.”

The objectives of the Brenau Center for the Arts & Design include enhancing visibility and awareness of the institutional reputation of the existing art and design programs, he said.

Claudia Wilburn, studio art program director and associate professor of art and design, said the center will produce a quarterly newsletter highlighting the achievements of its students, alumni and faculty throughout the year as well as alert the community to gallery openings, artist talks and other on-campus events related to the arts.

“We are committed to community outreach via workshops, community projects, sponsored student activities and social media,” Wilburn said. “Developing and growing our existing relationships with our community stakeholders is an essential purpose of our mission.”

The Brenau University Galleries include the roughly 6,500-piece Permanent Art Collection, comprised of sculpture, painting, photography, other works of art and the university’s impressive Historic Clothing Collection. Brenau Galleries serve as a visual arts resource for the educational and cultural enrichment of the university, the North Georgia region and the entire Southeast.

The center will also seek external funding from patrons and foundations to support scholarships, visiting faculty appointments, facilities and other innovations.

“Any grants or donations will extend the intellectual diversity of the curriculum as we attract more students and new full-time faculty members with myriad talents and areas of expertise,” Wilburn said.

Finally, the center aims to build student support services, including one-on-one mentorship with faculty and working professionals, and professional development, including creation of portfolios and pursuit of highly coveted internships and career opportunities.

For more information about the Center for the Arts & Design at Brenau University and to sign up for the quarterly newsletter, go to the Center for the Arts & Design webpage.

Student using a sewing machine in the Fashion Lab.