Art department adjusts to lower enrollment


Adrianna Rochester – Special to the Southern News

Despite a drop in enrollment, the Art Department has been pushing new ways to get Southern students interested in the arts as well as finding ways to get more exposure for their current art student’s work. In recent years, according to the most recent figures from the SCSU Factbook, Southern has seen an overall drop across the campus, which has affected departments such as The Art Department.

Based on the enrollment figures, the department tracks Fall and Spring enrollments individually, and Spring typically tends to have fewer students. Overall, in the past five years the department has seen a slow decrease in the number of students for both part-time and full-time students. In previous years, the number of students enrolled in the Art Department’s programs were higher than they are now. The majority of students enrolled in the department’s programs were returning students. This trend has been seen more during recent academic school years with less and less new and transfer students entering the programs offered by the Art Department.

David Levine, chairperson of the Art Department, said he does not know much about the enrollment rates for the department, however, during his time working in the department he has observed the number of students decrease over the years.

One reason for this, he said, could be because there tends to be more classes offered during the fall semester than spring.

“We do community advertisement on the high school level to get students aware of the programs the department offers as well as going to the community colleges to get students to transfer to Southern,” Levine said.

The department has also spent time rebuilding its faculty and working on having more exhibitions to showcase both student and faculty work on campus. For example Levine said that this spring there is a student exhibition in the main lobby of the Lyman Center as well as a month long exhibition, called “Identity” located in the Buley Library’s art gallery, showcasing alumni and student art work.

“Art is one of those things that people tend to easily forget about, but at the same time it’s the flower of what we do on campus,” he said, “it is built into us and the students should see the amazing work artist on campus create.”

Another change the Art Department has made to bring more awareness to the student’s work is by allowing students to submit their work to be displayed in the showcase located in Earl Hall, said Jackie Defrancesco, secretary of the Art Department.

Prior to this change, Defrancesco said, the showcase was used to display the work of local New Haven artists. However, during this academic school year there was no faculty member in charge of filling the showcase, until she came up with the idea to fill it with artwork from current students.

“I loved to see how excited the students were to see their work in the showcase,” she said, “they feed off of each other so it made the efforts of putting this together that much more special.”

Defrancesco also said this is a great way to show students how to put on an exhibition. They’re able to get ideas and inspiration from one another and other students on campus can see how talented these individuals are.

With the efforts the department has been making to bring more awareness to its student’s art and the programs offered, both Levine and Defrancesco hope more students will become interested in the arts and take one of the many classes students can take.

Photo Credit: Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor

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