Mar 23, 2019  
2018-19 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-19 Undergraduate Catalog

College of Visual and Performing Arts

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Dr. George E. Sparks, Dean
Dr. Sonya G. Baker, Associate Dean
Phone: (540) 568-7131
MSC: 2107
Location: Shirley Hanson Roberts Center

Academic Units

Art, Design and Art History, School of  
Dr. Katherine Schwartz, Director

Music, School of  
Dr. Jeffrey Bush, Director

Theatre and Dance, School of  
Rubén Graciani, Director

Mission Statement

The College of Visual and Performing Arts is founded on the belief that artistic expression reveals the essential nature and diversity of human experience. Embracing traditional practices as well as contemporary approaches and technologies, the College provides a stimulating environment in which students create, perform, interpret, research, teach and think critically about the arts. The College actively supports creative and scholarly endeavors, collaboration between faculty and students, and interdisciplinary exchange. We are committed to making the arts an integral part of the life of the university and advancing their visibility, accessibility and understanding throughout the region and the world.


The programs in the college are committed to achieving the following common objectives:

  • To prepare students to be articulate, effective and inspiring performers, educators, creators, scholars and professionals in the arts.
  • To attain recognition and leadership in the arts at the regional, national and global levels.
  • To enhance, develop and sustain undergraduate and graduate programs of distinction.
  • To support cultural, aesthetic and intellectual diversity, and to foster interdisciplinary exchange.
  • To offer students instruction and learning experiences that incorporate the latest technology, research and practices.
  • To engage the surrounding community as an active partner in promoting and experiencing the arts.

Majors and Minors

CVPA offers majors and minors from the following schools:

Resources and Events

Forbes Center for the Performing Arts

Executive Director: Ms. Regan Byrne
Phone: (540) 568-7000

Comprised of the Dorothy Thomasson Estes Center for Theatre and Dance and the Shirley Hanson Roberts Center for Music Performance, the Forbes Center houses five state-of-the-art performance venues: the Mainstage Theatre (450 seats), the Concert Hall (600 seats), the Recital Hall (196 seats), the Studio Theatre (200 seats) and the Earlynn J. Miller Dance Theatre (200 seats).

The center is home to the Masterpiece Season, a variety of cultural events for JMU and the entire community. The schools of Art, Design and Art History; Music; and Theatre and Dance all take an active role in this series. The season also includes the Encore Series and Family Series featuring visiting artists such as Julian Sands, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Béla Fleck, Denyce Graves, Jefferson Pinder and Alex Bay.


Director: Mr. John Ros
Phone: (540) 568-6918

artWorks Gallery

artWorks is JMU's student-run gallery, exhibiting work by undergraduate and graduate students. The gallery features moveable walls; hardwood floors; large windows; and a high, open ceiling. Exhibits change, on average, every three weeks. The gallery is located a short walk from Duke Hall on the second floor of 131 Grace Street. The artWorks Gallery is a curricular component of the School of Art, Design and Art History.

Duke Hall Gallery

Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art is a professional gallery featuring changing exhibitions that directly correlate to the curricula of the Art, Design and Art History, School of . The gallery aims to present the highest level of fine art experiences and to create an active space for robust discourse of vital issues facing our society. Duke Hall Gallery is located in Duke Hall, Room 1022, on the corner of Main and Grace Streets. Duke Hall Gallery is sponsored by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Art, Design and Art History, School of .

New Image Gallery

New Image Gallery is a professional photography gallery featuring contemporary photography of regional and national significance. New Image Gallery is located on the second floor of 131 Grace Street, JMU, Harrisonburg, VA. New Image Gallery is a curricular component of the School of Art, Design and Art History.


Institute for Visual Studies

Director: Dr. David Ehrenpreis
Phone: (540) 568-5656

The Institute for Visual Studies is a center for scholarly, scientific and creative inquiry into the nature and workings of images. An incubator of new ideas, the institute fosters discovery, and the generation of artworks, products and applications by multidisciplinary teams of students and faculty. The Institute for Visual Studies, a collaboration among faculty representing all colleges at the university, is helping establish a multidisciplinary learning community, exploring the connections among art, science, and technology, and creating new solutions for real-world problems. It is located in Roop Hall, room 208.

Madison Art Collection

Director: Dr. Wren River Stevens
Phone: (540) 568-5577

The Madison Art Collection provides unique opportunities for students, faculty and the surrounding community to learn about a wide range of world cultures through the exploration of its collection of over 35,000 objects. The collection has two exhibition venues, both located in the Festival Conference and Student Center: The Lisanby Museum showcases exhibits drawn from the permanent collection and uses technological applications such as smart device applications and QR codes to allow visitors to craft their experience with the objects; and the Prism Gallery and Prism International exhibit works emphasizing aspects of diversity, including areas of culture, religion, gender and sexuality. Scholars may apply for access to study Madison Art Collection objects at the Charles Lisanby Center, located in the Festival Conference and Student Center.

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