The Visual Arts and Design Honors Program provides students at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts with an arts program that develops their artistic talents and creativity while creating a talent pool that builds on recent private investments in arts education in colleges and universities. all over Arkansas.
The Visual Arts and Design program offers students the opportunity to take immersive college-level courses in 2D, 3D, and other traditional visual arts topics, as well as graphic design and digital photography. Courses such as Modern Design and Crafts, Ceramics, Digital Art, and Graphic Design expand ASMSA’s artistic offerings beyond traditional painting and drawing courses.
The POD curriculum includes eight courses called the Visual Arts Foundations sequence that aligns with most undergraduate visual arts majors and minors. This gives students with a passion for the visual arts ample time to explore the fundamentals while focusing on building a portfolio that reflects their own personal interests. Classes conclude with a Senior Studio course which focuses on portfolio building, art as a profession, personal branding, college planning, and submitting to various competitions.
The Visual Arts and Design POD is ASMSA’s most recent effort to expand its investment in the arts, which was made part of the school’s legislative mission in 2004. This change was enacted 18 years ago on July 1, meaning the arts have been a part of ASMSA’s name and core mission longer than the original Arkansas School of Mathematics and Science moniker chosen when the school was established in 1991.
Over the past decade, ASMSA has used institutional funds as well as private donations to enhance the reputation of the school’s arts program. Three full-time art instructors were added to the faculty, new courses were introduced, and new equipment was purchased.
These investments have resulted not only in a more dynamic curriculum, but also in student abilities and recognition. As students are introduced to an increasing number of artistic techniques and styles, they use them to create award-winning pieces. Students have been recognized in the Thea Foundation Scholarship Competition, Governor’s Young Artists Competition, Arkansas Young Artists Association Competition, and Congressional Arts Competition, among others.
POD also strengthens the school’s ties to Hot Springs’ vibrant local arts community. Additional collaboration with the Hot Springs Cultural Alliance, Arts in the Park, and individual artists provides opportunities for students to better engage with local artists and build relationships with community advocates. Students have participated in city-sponsored art projects, including murals at area recreation facilities.
Students who choose to participate in the Visual Arts and Design POD also complete a concurrent core which ensures that all students graduate from the school with at least 30 hours (one year) of college credit. Recent graduates average almost 50 hours during their four semesters of study at ASMSA.