Mission & vision

The creative economy is fast becoming the most dominant—and most job-secure—economic sector in the world. In survey after survey, the qualities most sought by employers are those embodied by artists and cultivated through artistic training: creativity, unconventional and innovative thinking, intellectual risk-taking, empathy, intuition, and the ability to work both independently and collaboratively.

These qualities make creative professionals invulnerable to the vagaries of the 21st-century marketplace: automation, outsourcing, globalization, and low wages. To thrive in and benefit from the creative economy, you must become a creator.

Our Mission

Watkins College of Art challenges individuals to develop their talent, refine their creative practice, and dedicate their lives to advancing culture through the illuminating power of art.

Seek. Work. Reveal.

We foresee a future that brings greater regional, national, and international recognition to the value of art, artists, and places like Watkins that serve as incubators for the creative mindset.

Artists who deliver the greatest benefits to the cultures in which they flourish follow a universal creative path—they seek, they work, they reveal. How is this manifest? Artists are driven relentlessly by questions, by the need to apprehend the elusive, decipher the puzzle, and answer the unanswerable. The best societies are fearless in the same way. No meaningful answers emerge without an artist’s hard work, and no culture can advance without the same tenacity.

In seeking out questions and pursuing answers, both cultures and creative individuals reap rich rewards. And the answers they provide improve, elevate, and electrify our common cause. The artist’s enlightenment becomes our own.

Watkins exists to serve this dynamic interplay—sparking the artistic and societal impulses to seek, to refine, to challenge, and to push our mutual work. Watkins exists to provide avenues for artists to reveal their insights to the world at large. This is the project of a boundless civilization. And it is the promise of a Watkins education.

What Watkins embodies

In pursuit of this objective, we focus our distinct and ambitious vision on:

  • exceptional instruction and mentoring in art, design, and film through outstanding degree programs in all our academic offerings
  • a legacy as a premiere academic and professional institution that provides a safe, open, and supportive learning environment
  • creators who have the tools to be critical, analytical thinkers and who are equipped to find fulfilling employment locally, regionally, nationally, and globally
  • students, alumni, and faculty who creatively serve individuals, groups, and organizations in diverse communities
  • programs and projects that enrich the lives of fellow citizens while giving our students real-world learning experiences
  • students who graduate with the knowledge and skills in the liberal arts to be practicing professionals, lifelong learners, and scholars—individuals who fulfill the special role that creative professionals should play as critics, visionaries, and the conscience of society

We seek out students who:

  • bring focus, dedication, and passion to their work in art, design, and film
  • intend to pursue their fields professionally or on a continuing basis
  • meet increasingly selective standards of admission and come from regionally, nationally, and internationally diverse communities

We strive to maintain academic excellence and economic accessibility by:

  • offering affordable tuition in tandem with generous financial aid
  • employing faculty members who demonstrate outstanding commitments and abilities as classroom and studio instructors
  • encouraging faculty members to continue their artistic practice in tandem with their academic pursuits

We welcome like-minded creative spirits to join us in fulfilling this vision.