WRITTEN BY MARIA LEICHTY, STAFF REPORTER
Elizabeth Mix has been named director of the Art and Design program after helping build it from the bottom up.
The art program today has changed vastly from what it was a decade ago. It started as a visual arts minor in the Media Arts program, which used to be in the Jordan College of the Arts.
Three years ago, Elizabeth Mix and other faculty built an art and design major, along with a minor.
In 2011, Michelle Jarvis became director and created a five-year strategic plan. The plan included a new building, a larger range of courses, expanded faculty and the recruitment of more students.
This year, Mix steps in to continue growing the program. Mix was an associate professor of art history at Butler University before taking on this new role, and said the essential duties of a director and teacher are basically the same.
“It’s really about helping students find their place in the world and what they are interested in,” Mix said.
Jarvis, JCA associate dean, said having a new director is a huge step for the art program.
“Now that the infrastructure is in place and things are starting to go, it is time for the art faculty to take over,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis said Mix will be a fine spokeswoman for the program because she is a part of the art world and will be able to recruit more students and expand the program’s vision.
Junior Taylor Sitorius said Mix was instrumental in her decision of becoming an Art + Design major.
“It’s just been good to see how passionate all of (the art faculty) are about making the program something special,” Sitorius said. “They are all so excited, especially Mix, about what the possibilities for the programs are, and (Mix) has helped it grow so quickly.”
The Arts program now has 29 Art and Design majors and 27 with minors.
Eight majors, about 25 percent of the program, were added this year alone.
Jarvis said Mix will also be expanding the program with regard to exhibitions and involvement in the community, especially with regard to student internships.
Mix helped Sitorius get an internship last semester using therapeutic art for developmentally disabled adults.
“I am acting in the best interest of the program and the best interest of the students,” Mix said of her appointment as director.
“I don’t know if I’ll do this forever because the reality is, I really like the classroom and I really like teaching.”
Mix has a great reputation among her students.
“She is always so passionate about whatever she’s talking about and seems to have a wealth of information that is unimaginable,” Sitorius said.