Department of Art


Interim Chair: Edward Morin, M.F.A.
(936) 294-1314

Graduate Advisor: Rebecca Finley

Website: Department of Art

Contact Information: (936) 294-1314


The mission of the Sam Houston State University Department of Art is to teach skills, techniques, aesthetic principles, and concepts that develop students personally and help to prepare them for professional careers in art and design as well as postgraduate study. We foster a vibrant environment for creative research and collaboration between faculty, students, and the community.


  • The curriculum consists of courses that provide a strong theoretical framework and the development of the graduate student’s creative work. It is designed to provide support for the development of a professional creative practice of art making that engages audiences in community-based projects.
  • Graduate students are provided with individual studio space located off-campus and have opportunities to work with local organizations on art projects that are meaningful to the communities that they engage.
  • Students from diverse artistic disciplines are given support to sustain an artistic studio practice in media of their choice. Simultaneously, graduate students will develop expertise in university teaching methods as well as integration methods for community engagement. Exhibitions and publications are included in curricular requirements and supported in university galleries and off-campus sites.

Career Opportunities

  • University and community college professors
  • Independent artists
  • Community art organization directors
  • Museum and gallery staff

ARTS 5079. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

Students in this course conduct supervised exploration of a specialized interest or pursue enhanced skills. It is designed specifically for advanced students who are capable of independent research and/or creative activity. Variable Credit (1 to 3).
Prerequisite: Approval of instructor and department.

ARTS 5311. Studio Critique. 3 Hours.

Students explore and begin producing a body of work. Weekly group critiques allow students to develop their work while providing a forum for peer review and discussion of critical theory, as well as social, political, and aesthetic aspects of their practice.

ARTS 5312. Studio Seminar. 3 Hours.

Students focus on socially and community engaged art practices. Each semester, the course will focus on a topic related to current theories of contemporary art and social practices. Topics will rotate and vary from semester to semester. Group discussions and individual research on the semester topic will serve as the conceptual and ideological catalyst for the creative work produced in the seminar.

ARTS 5313. Teaching Seminar in Art. 3 Hours.

Students examine teaching pedagogy in higher education. Curriculum development, syllabi development, assessment, and educational objectives will be viewed with a focus on art education and visual culture. This is a required course to prepare students for graduate teaching assistantship opportunities in the Department of Art.

ARTS 5315. Professional & Social Practice. 3 Hours.

Students pursue professional artistic endeavors, including portfolio development and presentation, grant writing, and exhibitions. Emphasis is placed on developing proposals for projects and exhibitions that emphasize community engagement and participation. Students in the course will organize and promote public exhibition of their work.

ARTS 5381. Socially Engaged Art. 3 Hours.

Students consider art, its social contexts, and its engagement with social systems. Socially Engaged Art may incorporate the community, networks of people within a community, political and/or social activism, participation, relationships between people and/or organizations, and include transdisciplinary work that considers societal relations. It will consider the origins and history of socially engaged art as well as its contemporary manifestations.

ARTS 5385. Contemporary Art and Theory. 3 Hours.

Students examine art from late twentieth century onward. Particular focus is granted to ongoing work by significant artists and scholars. Class lectures and discussions alternate between chronological and thematic treatments of contemporary art, and also consider major theories and histories. Prerequisite:

ARTS 6079. Special Topic. 1-3 Hours.

This course provides opportunities for special topic courses within the Department of Art. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Instructor approval. Variable Credit (1 to 3).
Prerequisite: Instructor Approval .

ARTS 6311. Collaborative Studio. 3 Hours.

Students focus on the exploration and production of a body of work leading up to their thesis project. Students will develop and complete projects that require collaboration with other artists in the program, or with other disciplines, to expand their practices. Weekly group critiques will allow students to develop their work while providing a forum for peer review.
Prerequisite: ARTS 5312 and ARTS 5381.

ARTS 6312. Community Seminar. 3 Hours.

Students pursue the development of a body of creative work through partnerships with community organizations or experiences. Students develop projects that relate to community issues by working with community organizations or creating innovative community-based projects that result in public presentations or exhibitions.
Prerequisite: ARTS 5311 and ARTS 5381.

ARTS 6313. Studio Critique II. 3 Hours.

Students continue to develop their studio practice and refine art and social practice projects working towards their theses. Group and individual critiques will provide a forum for faculty feedback, peer review, and discussions of advanced critical theory, as well as social and political aspects of their practice.
Prerequisite: ARTS 5311.

ARTS 6381. Research Methods in Art. 3 Hours.

Students critically explore approaches and methodologies in studio art research. A variety of research perspectives are considered, with an emphasis on student-conducted research. Students investigate historical, theoretical, and technical aspects of research in an artistic context and develop practices of documenting, disclosing, and disseminating their research.
Prerequisite: ARTS 5381 and ARTS 5385.

ARTS 6385. Seminar in Art History. 3 Hours.

Students study and analyze different Art History topics each semester. Rotating topics focus on different eras and locations; students analyze those periods and incorporate them into their practices.
Prerequisite: ARTS 5385.

ARTS 6398. Thesis Project I. 3 Hours.

Students write a thesis proposal articulating their artistic practice and outlining plans for a thesis exhibition to be completed in ARTS 6399: Thesis Project II. The theoretical foundation of their project is emphasized, alongside the project's context within art history and the student's creative development. Students will complete a Catalog Project for publication in a catalog to accompany the exhibition completed in ARTS 6399.
Prerequisite: ARTS 6381 and Departmental Approval.

ARTS 6399. Thesis Project II. 3 Hours.

Students complete the thesis project developed in ARTS 6398 and exhibit a body of work in the thesis exhibition. The completed thesis describes the conceptual foundation of the student's artistic practice and its relation and significance to society and the community. The thesis exhibition is demonstrative of the written thesis.
Prerequisite: ARTS 6398.

Christopher Frank Cascio, MFA, Assistant Professor of Art, Department of Art, MFA, Univ of Houston-Main; BFA, San Francisco Art Inst

Rebecca L Finley, MFA, Professor of Photography, Department of Art, MFA, San Francisco Art Inst; BA, Univ of Tennessee-Knoxville

Michael Henderson, MFA, Professor of Art and Associate Dean, CAM; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Art, MFA, Univ of North Texas; BFA, Univ of North Texas

Melissa L Mednicov, PHD, Associate Professor of Art, Department of Art, PHD, Penn State Un-Univ Park; MA, Penn State Un-Univ Park; BA, Smith College

Tony R. Shipp, MFA, Associate Professor of Art, Department of Art, MFA, Univ of Florida; BA, Montana State Univ-Billings

Jessica Annie Simorte, MFA, Assistant Professor of Art, Department of Art, MFA, Univ of Cincinnati; BA, University of Saint Mary

Jody Carolyn Wood, MFA, Assistant Professor of Art, Department of Art, MFA, Univ of Kansas; BA, Seattle Pacific University