Jean Grow, program director for fine arts minors, has advocated for the program’s growing presence at Marquette since joining faculty seven years ago. The fine arts program is in collaboration with Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and students have the option to attend that campus in the Third Ward.
The fine arts minor program appeared roughly 20 years ago in the form of graphic design, studio art, photography and motion narrative in the College of Arts & Sciences. Senior Vice Provost Gary Meyer moved the program to the College of Communication around 2008 because at the time 50 percent of students in fine arts were from the College of Communication.
Grow has plans for the improvement of the program.
“I saw opportunity,” Grow said. “Huge potential.”
During her time here, Grow has conducted focus groups with Marquette, alumni, MIAD and even outside corporations such as ad agencies, all in mind to reconstruct the Fine Arts. Grow has seen an influx of participants. Two years ago, 70 students were a part of the program and the number remains at a consistent 50 students.
Markeita Bratcher, a senior majoring in advertising and minoring in graphic design in the College of Communication, encourages student to enroll.
“Marquette students who want to pursue art and design, even if they’re not sure what it is, should definitely try and register for classes … it really is worthwhile,” Bratcher said.
Currently 28 Marquette students are pursuing a graphic design minor with 17 for studio art and five for photography. The students come from diverse backgrounds and fields such as engineering, business, humanities, sciences, health sciences and education.
In the 2015-2016 academic year, MIAD changed their curriculum, which affected the Marquette fine arts program. The miscommunication came when MIAD told Grow that they would change, but didn’t specify anything. Grow learned of the changes in the beginning of fall 2015.
“I was not happy,” Grow said.
While graphic design remained the same, most changes focused on the curriculum for studio art. The minor in photography was dropped completely. The changes begin a new way the fine arts will be handled at Marquette.
The new fine arts program is an interdisciplinary program. This means that students focused on varied mediums, whether it’s painting or ink drawing, will take the same course. The courses are now more theme-centric instead of medium-centric.
“Frankly, I think these classes are going to be so exciting, this (new) curriculum is fabulous,” Grow said. “It reflects the current practices in the art world. It’s rare for artists to work in exclusively one medium.”
The way MIAD chose to arrange its course slots for photography is the main reason why Marquette no longer offers it.
Choosing to remove the photography minor wasn’t an easy decision.
“It was really no longer possible to say that you could get a photography minor and take six classes,” Grow said. “So I had to make the very hard choice, to say that I had to cancel the minor.”
Isioma Okoro-Osademe, a freshman in the College of Communication was one of students who intended to pursue a photography minor but switched to Studio Art when she found out about the changes.
“I was a little disappointed but I understand why they made the decision.” said Okoro-Osademe. She now plans to pursue photography in her spare time.
If Marquette students wanted to take a photography class, they would have to wait till the fall semester as there are no more MIAD photography classes open in the spring. The remaining five students with a photography minor have the option to finish up their minor with independent studies or photo-journalism classes through the journalism program.