The School of Art is a leader in the development of artists and arts educators. We challenge our faculty and our students in a transdisciplinary environment to be optimal artists, socially engaged, creative, and relevant.

Home / Mission + History

About the ASU School of Art

The School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides an environment where you can develop and hone your artistic skills, have the freedom to grow aesthetically and opportunities to stretch your limits.

Extensive choice

The School of Art is one of the largest and most respected public art schools in the country, offering degrees in fine arts, art education and art history. The comprehensiveness of our program offers a range of specialties equaled by few other institutions.

A rich well of artistic knowledge and ability is so important that a strong emphasis is placed on hiring faculty who further enhance and broaden it. The studio faculty are artists in their own right, many of whom are recognized nationally and internationally in their fields. They also take a personal interest in their students. Students find more than great teachers; they find mentors.

Room to grow

This is a boundary-breaking school. Faculty from different disciplines team-teach some courses. Course structures encourage students to develop programs of study that explore a range of artistic specialties. This provides the opportunity to grow more freely as an artist, exploring creativity fully while developing artistic identity. Four campus galleries – Harry Wood, Northlight, Step and Gallery 100 – provide space dedicated exclusively to student exhibitions.

Inspiration and connection

Exceptional lighting, striking landscapes and unusual climate have attracted artists to Arizona for more than a century. The unique landscape of the desert Southwest, home to one of the nation’s largest cities, provides a culturally stimulating environment in which to study. Add the major museums in the metropolitan area, including the Herberger Institute's own cutting-edge ASU Art Museum, and a large, diverse arts community, which provide the unique opportunities to connect with other artists and the natural environment for aesthetic and professional inspiration.


The School of Art in the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is a nationally ranked public institution offering a breadth of disciplines and a comprehensive range of instruction in fine arts, fashion, art education, art history, and museum studies. It fosters a challenging and innovative learning environment for creative and academic exploration; encourages curiosity, compassion, collaboration, individual purpose, cultural diversity and global awareness, ultimately advancing student achievement and excellence. The School of Art is committed to cultivating and maintaining an environment that provides access, equity, inclusion and a vibrant interchange between the university and the community – locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

Its mission is to educate students to be actively engaged and socially responsible artists, scholars, and educators who are prepared to pursue their academic, professional, and personal goals in the arts.

The vision of the School is to develop long-lasting relationships with internationally-renowned faculty and a network of experts, and prepare its graduates as creative professionals who will shape the cultural narratives that will come to define our time.



The first degrees approved to be awarded by the Department of Art occurred in 1958 with an MA in art as well as art history. In 1965, the Department of Art, which had been a unit of the College of Liberal Arts, joined the new College of Fine Arts. Harry Wood, who had come to campus in the late 1950s, was chair of the Department of Art. He made the move with his department to the College of Fine Arts.

In 1970, the Department of Art moved into a new building that offered spacious studios and lecture halls. By that time, the art faculty had doubled in size from 13 to 26. As the 1980s began, the Department of Art became the School of Art and the position of chair was replaced with a director. Later in the decade, the Art Warehouse was built to contain course areas that used hazardous materials. This, in turn, freed up space in the Art Building for other needs.

In 2009, the School of Art became part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, with the merger of the Herberger College of the Arts and the College of Design.

The school still operates out of the Art Building and Art Warehouse, as well as Tower Center, Neeb Hall, and the Performing and Media Arts Building on the ASU Tempe Campus. In 2014, most of the school's graduate programs began to move downtown to the newly renovated warehouse space, Grant Street Studios.

The School of Art currently has four unique exhibition spaces: the Harry Wood Gallery in the Art Building, Gallery 100 in Tempe Center, and the Northlight Gallery and Step Gallery in Grant Street Studios.

With more than 45 full-time professors, the school offers courses in art history, art education and studio art, leading to degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. Studio areas of specialization include ceramics, drawing, fibers, intermedia, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture (with woods and metals).

ASU School of Art - The Student Experience