In 1958, the School of Art and Architecture was established with three sections: Architecture and Interior Design, Fine Arts, and Applied Arts, offering the first Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree in Studio in the State of Louisiana. The Departments of Fine Arts and Applied Arts merged as the Department of Visual Arts in 1987.
In 1995, the School of Art and Architecture at UL Lafayette became the College of the Arts, with the inclusion of the School of Music.
The Department of Visual Arts Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers concentrations in ceramics, computer art and animation, graphic design, metalwork and jewelry, new media & digital art, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. The department also offers, in alliance with the College of Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Art or Music Education K through 12, with a concentration in arts education.
The department is focused on preparing students for careers as professional artists, designers, and art educators. The faculty embraces holistic teaching that integrates art history and critical theory with traditional studio practice and emerging new media. The low faculty to student ratio provides exceptional opportunities for attention to individual students who develop through a rigorous curriculum accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The curriculum reinforces core art fundamentals in drawing and design, and the integration of art history with traditional studio practice and contemporary digital technologies. The capstone course for all concentrations, encompassing both semesters in the final year of a four year curriculum, concludes with the development and exhibition of a coherent body of work. In addition, the department sponsors visiting artists, lectures, and student workshops.
Graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program go on to have successful careers as professional artists, graphic designers, art educators, and community leaders. The department has recruited a list of well-established nationally and internationally respected artists as faculty who have attracted some of the hardest working and talented students from throughout the State. As a result, the department has established a long list a student alumni who have gone on to become very established and successful artists, designers and educators who reside throughout the United States.