Students and alumni react to cancelation of studio arts major


Studio arts sophomore Avery Hodge draws in the art studio in Monroe Hall. Hodge went to Loyola for the studio arts program that is now merging with Loyola’s design program. Photo credit: Maria Paula Marino

Valerie Cronenbold

Loyola’s decision to discontinue the studio arts major and fold it into the existing design program has polarized the opinions of many students and alumni.

Earlier this spring, the School of Communication and Design announced its plans to merge the studio and fine arts program with its preexisting bachelor of arts in design. Although this change will not affect those who are currently majoring or minoring in studio arts, no new students will be able to enroll in the program.

Studio arts major Avery Hodge said the merging of his major into the design program was a shock and even a disappointment at first.

“I would likely not have come to Loyola if they did not offer a separate studio arts major,” Hodge said.

Although he said he is sad to see the program change, Hodge said he believes that merging studio arts with design was the “most responsible and best choice the administration could have made in the interest of better serving its students.”

Loyola alumni Roma Michel Pace, who uses gender neutral pronouns, graduated in studio arts in May 2020. They are currently studying art history at LSU after being inspired by the Rev. Greg Waldrop, S.J, assistant professor of the art history and chairperson of the Department of Art.

“In my experience of being at Loyola and interacting with design majors, the two are just very different,” Pace said.

Although there is some overlap, design is technical compared to studio art, Pace said.

Pace said they believe the duality of both majors is complex enough for them to ideally remain independent. Pace said that the merging of the two programs might not give students deep comprehension in either discipline.

Another concern Pace has is the complication that could occur for potential graduate students, as other universities might be confused by the merging of studio arts with a design degree.

Kern Maass, dean of the College of Music and Media, said that after speaking to faculty this fall, the decision was made based on the discussions that fine arts and design have been together in the past.

Maass said there’s already a teach-out plan put together that the heads of the department have ready for the departments’ merge when studio arts and design.

Loyola student Alexis Chon said the only concern she has with the merge is the scheduling of future classes.

“I can’t wait to see how this merging will come out,” Chon said.

Changes to classes might not be as extreme as expected. Maass said there might be room for substitutions, or students might elect to take something that’s not on their DPCL, and can substitute in another course.

“We will teach out what their degree is,” Maass said.

Maass said he is confident in the faculty’s decision to combine the programs.

“We’re always reviewing what’s going on, what we need to do, what we need to be resourceful, and what we need to deliver what our students need,” he said.