Griffon Media
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Griffon Media

Western’s School of Fine Arts A Beacon of Creativity in A Technical Age

The arts have more influence with what we do and enjoy today than you might think.

Western’s school of fine arts is comprised of three departments: the department of art, department of music and the department of theatre, cinema and dance. All three departments strive to cultivate the artistic creativity of their students.

Dr. Bob Willenbrink, dean of the school of fine arts, said that without the arts, life would be drastically different.

“The fine arts are important today because they impact every part of everybody’s life,” Willenbrink said. “If you were to do a day without art, you couldn’t listen to the radio, you couldn’t watch television and you couldn’t find your way around because signs are made by graphic artists.”

Willenbrink also says that the school of fine arts teaches students the importance of aesthetic values, collaboration and the ability to communicate themselves creatively.

“Whether it is through song or performance, through graphic design or studio art, it’s a way to communicate with the world,” Willenbrink said. “It’s a way to send messages in a very nice, comprehensive, palatable and enjoyable fashion.”

Dr. Kathy Liao, director of the painting and printmaking program, says the strength of Western’s school of fine arts is the faculty.

“I think we have a very strong and dedicated group of faculties,” Liao said. “Our goal — all of us — is to give students a solid foundation in all of the disciplines that we’re teaching here.”

Dr. Liao said that each student can develop their skills with one-on-one guidance through relationships with the faculty.

“Everyone is on a different path,” Liao said. “We do teach that foundation but at the same time they’re also constantly challenged by us faculty.”

Molly Nashan, a freshman graphic design student, is looking to take the skills she learns within her major to eventually work for the popular video game company Nintendo. She said Western’s school of fine arts will provide her with the means to succeed in her future.

“Western’s school of fine arts seems to take it more seriously than other colleges, like adding more majors and minors that deal with different art programs,” Nashan said. “The classes also push you to break your comfort zone but are still really fun to be in.”

A student going into the arts has many career opportunities ahead of them, from video game production to designing the furniture we lounge around in to designing our infrastructure. Western’s school of fine arts works hard to ensure the artistic creativity, ambition and success of its students.




Griffon Media is the conglomeration of three student media publications on campus — The Griffon News, The Griffon Yearbook and KGSM-TV.

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Chase Merwin

Chase Merwin

I am a journalism major at Missouri Western State University aiming to become a photographer for a travel or entertainment publication.

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