Big changes are in store for Ouachita’s visual arts department. After losing two faculty members and gaining two more in their place in the past six months, Dr. Scott Holsclaw, dean and acting chair of the department, has decided to use this transition period wisely.
“Right now things are kind of in transition,” Holsclaw said. “Right now we are without a chair, and we’re without a graphics design faculty. We are hoping to start a search pretty soon. We are hoping to be able to find someone to combine those two positions so we can get a vision for the department and start moving in that direction.”
The two newest additions to the department are Donnie Copeland, a studio art professor, and Fred Zipkes, an adjunct in the graphics design discipline. Copeland’s position is temporary for now, although he is also a prime candidate for a full-time replacement once the formal search process starts.
“By filling both these positions at the same time, you’re creating a vision that works for everyone concerned and the department can move forward,” Holsclaw said.
“I feel as if the transition with two new teachers in the visual art department has gone extremely well,” Stephanie Smith, one of the two seasoned faculty in the department, said. “Donnie Copeland is giving our students fresh ideas and excellent instruction in both drawing and painting. Fred Zipkes is an ext-remely experienced graphic designer from whom our students are greatly benefitting. His knowledge, skills and expertise are exactly what we needed at this time, and we are thrilled to profit from it. Both Copeland and Zipkes have established a good rapport with the students and are wonderful additions to the art department.”
The two existing faculty members in the department are Dr. Raouf Halaby, professor of visual arts, and Smith, a lecturer in the department, are not without distinction. Recently, Dr. Halaby was chosen as the Arkansas Artist of the Month for August 2007 by Arkansas artists.com.
Smith and Copeland are also planning to attend the upcoming Portfolio Day in Little Rock in order to tell prospective students about Ouachita’s visual arts department and to view students’ work.
Last but not least, Moses-Provine, the building which on the second floor houses the visual arts department, is getting a much-needed face-lift.
“[For the hallway in the art department] we want to get a little more color up there, and make it more inviting,“ Holsclaw said. “And then [in] the classrooms, we’ll start working on some of those; we’re going to do some track lighting in the painting rooms, which of course we’ve needed for a while.”
The update will hopefully appeal to potenital teachers as well as students.
“I see the transition in visual arts as an opportunity to recruit top notch faculty members who are excellent teachers, accomplished artists and outstanding role models,” Halaby said. “Our students deserve nothing less.