Meera Komarraju: The SIU School of Art and Design Integrates the Traditional and the Futuristic | Education



Across six buildings, three study programs (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts) and thirteen fields of study, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Art and Design continues to educate artists, designers, educators and historians with the foundational tradition of art and design. It also projects into the future by integrating contemporary societal issues, technology, collaborative practices and experimentation into the already rich program of the school.


Still the lifeblood of any art and design school, the drawing and painting areas provide the skills to communicate ideas and represent the world through projections, websites, and installations.

Arts education students and faculty incorporate contemporary teaching practices into their lesson plans while addressing environmental concerns and social justice topics in its programming. Art history students explore art through a global lens to expose themselves to less recognized artists.

Design, Virtual Reality, Digital Technology

The field of ceramics pushes back the envelope of clay. Using 3D printing in innovative ways, students and faculty create unique objects while exploring the concepts of small series and mass production.

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Glass students and professors continue to expand the field of design through experimentation. This includes combining photography with torch work and creating mixed media works that combine materials such as silicone, fiberglass, hair, steel, and bronze with glass.

The school is expanding its presence in the field of 2D and 3D digital media. Students explore time-based media art, motion graphics, video editing, animation, and rendering. Communication Design students are at the forefront of branding and graphic design thanks to the integration of augmented reality and projection mapping in their projects.

Photography embraces the growing power of the smartphone through a course focused on its use. Students are encouraged to develop their knowledge of traditional imaging with new and emerging digital technologies and exit opportunities.

Students learn important skills

Through faculty scholarships as well as student and client research projects, industrial design students and faculty explore concept development using the Gravity Sketch virtual reality sketching tool. . The software helps bring the concepts of Adirondack seating and cafe to life in the virtual environment.

Combining traditional know-how and experimentation, the fields of small metals and forging train students in new ways of forging, twisting, welding, brazing, annealing, melting and repelling metal in functional art and fine art.

Etching students use a laser cutter to extend traditional etching, lithography, screen printing, and woodblock printing processes to their design work.

To broaden the notion of art, students and teachers in the field of sculpture go beyond the constraints of a specific medium, using CNC machines, a foundry, and 3D modeling software to help visualize and create their individual visions.

As you have just read, it is an exciting time to belong to the School of Art and Design!

Meera Komarraju is president and vice-chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.



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