Watkins College of Art, Design & Film
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year baccalaureate college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, and a Professional Certificate in Film. The faculty and staff are committed to a learning-centered environment that challenges students to engage the mind, train the eye and cultivate talent and skill into an active realization of creative potential. Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997, shaping and influencing the cultural horizon and economy of the community through art, design... More
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four-year baccalaureate college offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelor of Arts in Art, and a Professional Certificate in Film. The faculty and staff are committed to a learning-centered environment that challenges students to engage the mind, train the eye and cultivate talent and skill into an active realization of creative potential. Established in 1885 as a community-based learning institution, Watkins became a baccalaureate college in 1997, shaping and influencing the cultural horizon and economy of the community through art, design and film instruction in an academic setting, as well as through the Community Education program for youth, teens and adults. Watkins is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
Watkins began operations through a bequest by Samuel Watkins, a civic-minded Nashvillian whose gift to his community would begin an educational legacy that continues today. From the beginning, the school – then called Watkins Institute – placed an emphasis on the arts amidst the variety of educational and public service opportunities to people of all ages. One month after it opened its doors in March of 1885, the school, under the auspices of the Nashville Art Association, held Nashville's first comprehensive art exhibition and soon after began an art school, and instruction in the visual arts has continued without interruption for 127 years.
In the later years of the 20th century, Watkins moved through a period of significant transition in its programming, and determined to concentrate its programs and resources exclusively on providing educational, cultural and public service needs in the visual arts.
The transition began in 1977, when state approval was received to offer associate degrees in fine arts and in interior design, with a degree program in photography following. In the mid-1990s the institution established the Film School, which quickly gained a regional and national reputation for excellence, and now offers five concentrations: cinematography, editing, screenwriting, directing and production. In 1998, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved bachelor of fine arts degrees in film and in interior design; subsequently, bachelor of fine arts degree programs in graphic design, fine art and photography were approved.
Today, Watkins is positioned to expand its role as a major cultural and educational force in Tennessee and beyond. The general purpose of Watkins is to enrich the local, state and regional communities with an active cultural arts center, to provide students of all ages access to quality educational experiences in the visual arts, and to provide the region with outstanding artists, designers and filmmakers.
Approximately 400 undergraduate students attend Watkins each year, spending about 126,000 hours with an instructor followed by another 400,000 hours working in the College's studios and labs. By the time these students receive their degrees, they are ready to begin careers in art, design and film.
Partnerships with nonprofits, educational institutions and other community organizations also help Watkins extend its reach as an arts hub. With its classrooms, gallery space, theater and screening room, Watkins is a popular venue host for a variety of free and fee-based events, seminars and programs addressing specific disciplines and overall arts issues.
Watkins offers approximately 70 exhibitions, lectures, screenings and other arts-related programming that are free and open to the public each year. Exhibitions include work from students, alumni, faculty and visiting artists, and lectures bring in regionally and nationally known artists, designers and filmmakers to speak to the public and provide evaluation and review opportunities with Watkins students.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff contribute to the creative industries in Nashville and throughout the state and country. They make films, write scripts, edit, and produce. Watkins-trained designers build corporate identities and design award-winning publications. Interior Design students, alumni and faculty create beautiful, healing and safe spaces. Many faculty at Watkins continue to curate, present, publish and exhibit. Watkins alumni photograph and film for multi-media publications, TV and film projects, and the music industry. Students come to Watkins from 32 states and six countries internationally, and faculty and staff come from some of the most noted academic institutions, galleries, design houses and film communities in the country. They are leading members of the creative class in Tennessee and beyond.Less