Valerie Morris, Dean
Todd McNerney, Associate Dean
In 1919 Alfred Hutty, who became a noted figure in the Charleston Renaissance, was traveling to Florida in order to establish a winter studio. After his train stopped in Charleston, he sent the following message to his wife: “Come quickly. Have found Heaven!” Located within a city that national and international publications, visitors and residents rank as one of the world’s most desirable communities, the School of the Arts is well-situated to provide students and visitors to the campus with a wide range of educational and cultural programs both in and out of the classroom.
Students at the School of the Arts study with a distinguished faculty of professional artists, scholars and performers who specialize in undergraduate teaching. The School offers a variety of courses for both majors and others who simply are interested in learning about the arts plus opportunities such as travel abroad experiences. One of the School’s major strengths is its commitment to personalized education and high-impact learning experiences. By their nature, the School’s disciplines lend themselves to individualized instruction and the development of significant mentoring relationships between the students and the faculty and staff. Working with these mentors, students in the School of the Arts gain an education that prepares them for continued study at the graduate level or entry into the professional workforce.
In 2015 the South Carolina Arts Commission awarded the School of the Arts the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts. These awards are the highest honor the state presents in recognition of outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. The School of the Arts’ exceptionally talented students, alumni, faculty, and staff regularly win major research grants, competitions, and other awards. These honors include Grammy nominations; Fulbright fellowships; the Prix de Rome; Guggenheim fellowships; the International Young Soloists Award from VSA, the International Organization on Arts and Disability; Individual Artist Fellowship Awards (in both the visual arts and music) from the South Carolina Arts Commission; South Carolina African American Heritage Commission’s “Preserving Our Places in History” Individual Award; the Contemporaries’ Artist of the Year award from the Columbia Museum of Art Contemporaries, the museum’s young professionals group; the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts for the School’s gallery in 2012 as well as for alumni and current and former faculty; and recognition through many other fellowships and competitions.
The School of the Arts presents an exciting season of musical events, plays, dance performances, lectures, and exhibitions, including the 2nd Monday Series, the International Piano Series, Mainstage productions, Addlestone and Simons lectures in Art History and Historic Preservation, and the annual Young Contemporaries exhibition. The School produces many events that are part of Spoleto Festival USA and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and students have engaged in internships with organizations such as the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Spoleto Festival USA, the Historic Charleston Foundation, Charleston World Heritage Coalition, City of Charleston Planning, North Charleston Cultural Arts, Charleston County School District, and the South Carolina Historical Society. Beyond South Carolina, students have held internships with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Village Voice, Sotheby’s, The Menil Collection in Houston, Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, Sony Pictures and Atlantic Records in New York, Vancouver’s Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, Bristol Old Vic in the United Kingdom, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, and many other organizations.
The School of the Arts at the College of Charleston plays a distinctive role in the lives and education of the students of the College as well as the community by developing artists, art scholars, and art leaders within a liberal arts setting. The education in the arts that we provide stimulates creativity and critical thinking skills, activates the whole learning process, and motivates a life-long love for the arts for all students. Within a city known for its cultural heritage, this superior education marks the School as a national flagship undergraduate arts program.
Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art
The School of the Arts is home to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA). HICA provides a multidisciplinary laboratory for the production, presentation, interpretation, and dissemination of ideas by innovative visual artists from around the world. As a non-collecting museum, the Halsey Institute creates meaningful interactions between adventurous artists and diverse communities within a context that emphasizes the historical, social, and cultural importance of the art of our time.
Housed within the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, less than a block away from the busiest pedestrian intersection in the state, the Halsey Institute’s public facilities include two interlinked museum quality exhibition spaces totaling 3,200 square feet, a dedicated media room, a reference library, and an archive. HICA has been presenting exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, publications, workshops, symposia, and other events since the Albert Simons Center for the Arts opened in 1978.
Students enrolled in the Gallery Fundamentals class help to install exhibitions, assist with publicity, and act as monitors during gallery hours. As an art gallery within a liberal arts institution, HICA is committed to providing a direct experience with works of art in all media within an environment that fosters creativity, individuality, innovation, and education
HICA has won awards and recognition for its exhibitions and its publications from organizations such as the American Advertising Federation, American Alliance of Museums, Charleston City Paper, Communication Arts, Design Observer, and the Southeastern Museums Conference. The Southeastern Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America has awarded HICA the Mary Ellen LoPresti Art Publication Awards Competition for many of their publications. The South Carolina Arts Commission named HICA the recipient of the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award in the Organization category for 2012. The Verner Awards are the highest award that South Carolina presents in the arts. Recently, HICA received major program support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Asian Cultural Council, Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Graham Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Henry and Sylvia Yaschik Foundation, Japan Foundation, Joanna Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, NASA, and the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Student Learning Outcomes