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Norma Humphreys

College of Fine Arts Assistant Dean Norma Humphreys gives to the college's Visiting Artist Program.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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College of Fine Arts fund brings visiting artists and scholars to campus


Success in the fine arts requires talent, skill, inspiration, creativity and, most importantly, education. Artists need to learn from one another on a regular basis and share their knowledge to improve and grow. Students in the College of Fine Arts get that experience not only from faculty, but also working professionals through the Visiting Artists Program.

Established in 2001 by then-Dean Raymond Tymas-Jones, the program provides funding to bring in noted artists and scholars in the visual and performing arts to the Athens campus to work with students and faculty. Previously, visiting artists were a part of the college’s annual budget, making it subject to cutbacks. The Visiting Artists Program is supported by an endowed fund created by the college’s faculty and staff to ensure the program’s longevity of the program and diminish the need for state funding. The fund, now at $40,000, has grown 166% in a dozen years.

Among the fund’s donors is Assistant Dean Norma Humphreys, who sees first-hand the impact that her dollars have on students.

“It’s amazing the high caliber of artists we can bring in with a limited amount of funds,” said Humphreys. “Our visiting artists come in and share their time, expertise and experiences within our Schools, in our Residential Learning Community and with our faculty and staff. We have the ability to bring an artist directly to the students, an experience that most students wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.”

Gifts by faculty and staff to funds like this one support The Promise Lives Campaign, Ohio University's current capital campaign that has raised more than $414 million toward its goal of $450 million by June 2015 in support of students, faculty, programs, facilities and community partnerships.

Recent visitors have demonstrated the practice of wig ventilating to theater students, taught a directing class for film students, and choreographed a new performance for dance students. Visiting artists also give feedback in art graduate studio visits each semester, provide specialized instrument instruction for music students, and conduct scholarly lectures and workshops.

“Our visiting artists and scholars come from a variety of backgrounds and sometimes are repeat visiting artists who value their relationship with our students, faculty and staff,” said Interim Dean Madeleine Scott. “Other visiting artists are even Fine Arts alumni. Our donors to the Visiting Artists Program are very important because they are investing in our students’ future as well as enlivening the currency of our programs.”

Visiting artists also have a large impact on College faculty and staff. For example, the School of Interdisciplinary Arts has used program funds to bring renowned scholars to participate in the annual Interdisciplinary Seminar attended by first- and second-year students as well as faculty.

“The faculty benefit at the Interdisciplinary Seminar from conversing intellectually with the visiting scholar and demonstrating to the students the nature of scholarly interaction which occurs at professional conference presentations,” said Interim Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts Charles Buchanan.

The Promise Lives

Ohio University's current capital campaign, The Promise Lives Campaign, has raised more than $413 million toward its goal of $450 million by June 2015 in support of students, faculty, programs, facilities and community partnerships. 

Click here to learn more about The Promise Lives campaign.

Click here to learn about the College of Fine Arts’ campaign priorities. 

To donate to the College of Fine Arts Visiting Artists Program, contact Development Director Julie Zdanowicz at (740) 593-1810 or zdanowic@ohio.edu.