Welcome to the School of Art

“Art is not living. It is the use of living. The artist has the ability to take the living and use it in a certain way and produce art.” Audre Lorde, Joan Wylie Hall (2004). “Conversations with Audre Lorde”, p.96, Univ. Press of Mississippi
Zoe Charlton
Zoë Charlton, Director of the School of Art. Photo: Grace Roselli, Pandora's BoxX Project

Dear School of Art Community,

As the newly appointed Director of the School of Art, I am excited to welcome each of you to George Mason University! You have made an important decision to pursue creative study and we are delighted that you have chosen the School of Art at George Mason University to discover and nurture your artistic voice. As you give shape to your ideas, you bring life to your hopes and values, and contribute to our shared future.

We are in an expansive time of world-wide cultural and political reckoning. It may seem impossible to move forward or sideways, but let’s remember that stepping back and staying still puts us at odds with making progress towards collective liberation. Art and design may be some of the most important tools we have in this moment to drive societal and environmental change, express compassion and care for each other, and transform the world into a place we all belong.

Here at the School of Art, our goals are to be a guide as you explore your artistic potential, hone your technical skills, and evolve into the professional world as artists, designers, educators, and writers. We are honored to be a part of your journey! Your time with us will be but a small part of long and creatively fulfilling life with rewarding experiences, and you’ll find each challenge to be worth it. Embrace those challenges, trust in your practice; your professors are committed to your growth.

Your creations and their impact in the world are valued. You’ll use your skills to shape experiences into something meaningful. As Audre Lorde beautifully stated in her interview with John Wylie Hall, art is purposeful. It is the manifestation of our experiences to better understand ourselves and each other.

The School of Art is home to three distinct artistic and academic pathwaysArt Education, Graphic Design, and Studio Art. Within these programs, you have an opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research or engage in deep study of a particular technique or process. Our program offerings include minors in art and visual technology, arts and social change, graphic design, photography, and web design, and our newest minor in Dynamic Publishing. We also offer Master of Arts in Teaching in Art Education, a Master of Arts in Graphic Design, and an MFA in Visual and Performing Arts.

Our distinguished professors are making their impact in the world as artists and educators. Here are some noteworthy faculty updates:

  • Sue Wrbican is featured in the exhibition Climate for Change at the Pinkard Gallery, MICA.
  • Luis Vasquez La Roche participated in the Clavo Art Fair in Mexico City, MX.
  • Juana Medina Rosas will be speaking at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Garage Stories in March.
  • J Carrier's second major monograph (and 7th book) Mi’raj will be published by Brooklyn based imprint TIS Books. 
  • Art Education professors Daniel Barney, Justin Sutters, and Hayon Park will be presenting at the National Art Education Association conference this April in Minneapolis.
  • Mark Cooley premiered his independent film Fighting Indians, you’ll be able to watch it on PBS!
  • Rachel Debuque and Bobby Yi are busy organizing the 2025 FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) conference, focusing on the theme New/Next which will explore the future of innovative and inclusive foundations pedagogy. We are looking forward to hosting this national conference in 2025!

Thank you for choosing the School of Art! I encourage you to make the most of your time here—join us at lectures, art openings, and film screenings. Feel free to stop by the Art Office to say hello. I’ll be happy to meet you!

With Care and Kindness,

Zoë Charlton Director, School of Art