Visual Art

Cultivating Artistic Talent

Earning a degree in Art at Friends University allows students to study studio art and graphic design using a variety of methods and technology. The emphasis is finding your artistic voice and building a portfolio of your creative work.

Start your future in visual art.

Program Highlights

The World of Storytelling

Artists are storytellers, and the world is full of stories to be told. If you wish to tell stories through painting, sculpture, ceramics or photography, you may choose to explore a traditional art degree. At Friends, you also have the opportunity to utilize emerging technologies, which continue to alter the output and manner of consumption of art by pursuing a more high-tech approach to visual communications.

The Location Advantage

Friends University art students have ample opportunities to take advantage of the university’s location in a bustling metropolitan area. You will enjoy internship opportunities with profit and non-profit organizations, as well as the ability to tour and network with ad agencies, in-house creative groups, video and animation production studios, television stations, radio stations, print shops and many other businesses. And you can attend the gatherings of professional organizations and events such as AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), Creative Rush, MakeICT and Wichita Art Museum Art Chatter just to name a few.

Plenty of Opportunity

You can get involved in Final Fridays, during which art galleries, museums, restaurants and retail shops around Wichita stay open late and welcome exhibitors and visitors interested in the arts. You will have the opportunity to participate in group shows with other artists, and you may even have a solo show. Your assignments will include a variety of projects that help non-profit organizations further their efforts. In recent years, students worked with ICT Soup and Substance Abuse Center of Kansas. Friends University Art majors can also participate in an online writing magazine titled The Mews.

Senior Exhibit

Graduating seniors in art, art education and communications/publications will be required to display their works in an exhibit, which is a gallery-style exhibition. The exhibition will take place in December of your senior year.

Schedule an audition.


Focus Areas

Choose from two concentrations offered in graphic design or studio.

  • Graphic DesignAn emphasis in graphic design prepares you for work at ad agencies or other careers in design.
  • StudioChoose an area of major emphasis and an area of minor emphasis in painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, photography or drawing.

Careers and Professions in Visual Art

The art department at Friends University offers bachelor’s degrees and/or concentrations in art, art education, graphic design, studio art and visual communications. Recent graduates are working with organizations such as: CB Designs, Oxford Senior Living, Pioneer Balloon Co., Docuplex, INVISTA, Koch Creative Group, Geary County Schools, Squid Ink, Delta Dental of Kansas, Wichita Community Foundation, Associated Integrated Marketing, Universal Products, Logos’ Press, RSM Marketing, Reuben Saunders Gallery, SJNuzum Photography, and Wellington High School.

Here is a testimonial from a recent Folio class on work done for Substance Abuse Center of Kansas (SACK): “I would like to say that I was very pleased with the process and the completed product(s). The students were professional, attentive, quick to correct any problems or concerns. We are using or developing use of each of the products developed by the students. I would recommend the program to other non-profit companies and encourage that they take advantage of the opportunity. Thank you for all your assistance. Harold”

Harold Casey, Feedback from CEO of SACK

“I wanted to study under instructors who cared about my artistic and intellectual development, and I felt I had found that at Friends.”

Dustin Parker, Graphic Designer

Portfolio Requirements

A degree from Friends University will get you a job interview. Your portfolio will help get you a job.

All art and communications/publications majors and minors are required to keep a portfolio of work. These portfolios must include examples of the range and quality of work you have produced for your classes. As a central focus in your studies, a process portfolio will serve these functions:

  • To develop personal identity with and pride in your work
  • To provide the most effective critical tool to use in the development of your work
  • To demonstrate the progress in your studies and help determine future directions in your studio work
  • To use as a vital instructional tool by presenting it to your instructors at the beginning of new courses, so that the instructors can most effectively direct instruction

A progress portfolio is your best work from each of your classes. It should represent your comprehensive development and demonstrate your varied art skills.

A class portfolio is a compilation of your best and most comprehensive examples of works done within a particular discipline or class.

A targeted portfolio should include work from the progress portfolio (to be replaced by professional work following employment) selected to meet a particular need or demonstrate a particular skill.

A professional portfolio is a selection of work targeted for use in professional career interviews. It is only the very best work from each area and represents the highest level of achievement.

Art education students should keep a progress portfolio like other art majors. The works in this portfolio will be used for assessment of your progress in the program, and just as importantly, as personal resource materials for your teaching careers.

Program Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the use of content in the context of creativity, the use of unique one-of-a-kind images and the importance of the idea, as it applies to the visual arts.
  • Demonstrate formal order concepts, as they apply to the elements of composition and design principles, relating to visual expression.
  • Demonstrate delivery concepts, which include understanding materials, process and presentation of the finished work as it relates to the visual arts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of art as it relates to your discipline.

Featured Faculty

Doug Billings

Doug Billings

  • Printmaking
  • Fine Arts
  • BFA Mankato State University; MFA Wichita State University
Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown

  • Art Education
  • Fine Arts
  • M.F.A., Wichita State University; B.F.A., Kansas State University
Aaron Krone

Aaron Krone

  • Associate Professor of Art
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A., Friends University; M.F.A., Fort Hays State University
Nathanael May

Dr. Nathanael May

  • Professor of Music; Tim & Gail Buchanan Division Chair of Fine Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M. Piano Performance, University of Wisconsin –Whitewater; M.M. Performance and Literature, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester; D.M.A. Performance and Literature, University of Kansas
Lauren Miller

Lauren Miller

  • Computer Print Technologies
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A., Friends University

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