About The Department

Mission Statement

The Department of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco is situated within a vibrant liberal arts setting that provides an arts education without boundaries. Our mission is to teach historical, theoretical and practical foundations across disciplines with the common goal of critically reflecting upon the global condition while becoming local agents of change.

A Unique Urban Locale

We recognize the gift of our urban location in San Francisco and encourage students to make the city their classroom. Students are introduced to the field of arts management through a flourishing internship program, and to cutting-edge approaches to the shaping of “green,” sustainably built communities in the architecture program. Highly skilled design faculty lead students into the professional design world of the 21st century with training in the latest technologies and design concepts in our state-of-the art computer laboratories. The fine arts faculty is made up of dynamic and diverse practicing artists offering expertise and mentorship in the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, and community arts. The focus is on the integration of traditional genres with contemporary applications and concepts.

Student Exhibition Opportunities

Students in the department have many opportunities to exhibit their work, share their developing expertise, and interact with professional artists, both on campus and in the community. The Mary and Carter Thacher Gallery, located in the Gleeson Library, hosts up to five exhibitions each year, bringing in extraordinary regional and national artists who interact with students and offering opportunities to students to participate in exhibition planning. Every year, the Thacher Gallery collaborates with Arts Management students to produce the Thacher Student Showcase, a juried show featuring juniors and seniors from USF's Fine Art, Design and Media Studies programs. Additionally each year students in the Senior Studio and Senior Design Projects capstone courses hold an exhibition of thesis projects at an off campus gallery.  Other exciting on-campus resources include a sculpture garden, visiting artists programs, and mural projects.

Community Partnerships

The department also maintains creative working relationships with a number of arts organizations. Students benefit from a partnership with one of the finest museums in the nation, the de Young Museum, located within walking distance in a spectacular new facility in Golden Gate Park through on-site classes, internships, and special events. Mutually enriching collaborations with community non-profit groups expose students to new alternatives to the traditional ways of making a living and a life as an artist, designer, or architect. They design graphic materials for non-profit organizations, curate shows at local galleries, participate in well-recognized public art and design projects, and develop successful art programs for organizations serving those who might otherwise never be able to experience art.

Whether a student plans further training at the graduate level, entry into the professional world, or a self-made life as a fine artist in the studio and in the community, the mission of the department is to provide the foundation for achieving these goals, as well as for the lifelong process of continuing to realize goals still to be imagined.