Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Established 1859
1874, Chartered
1947, New Program
1966, Renamed
2010, Renamed
Type Private
President Laurence A. Hinz, president
Undergraduates 450
Location Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
Campus Urban

Santa Fe University of Art and Design is an institution of creative and performing arts based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The university offers programs in creative writing, theatre, art, graphic design, moving image arts (film/video), music, and photography, based on a liberal arts core curriculum. The university is home to Garson Studios, a 27,000-square-foot soundstage facility where major motion pictures have been filmed, including No Country for Old Men, City Slickers, All the Pretty Horses, North Country, True Grit, Paul, and Cowboys and Aliens. Campus events include Artists for Positive Social Change, a year-long series of courses, lectures, and performances that explores the influence of a specific art genre on society. Santa Fe University of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.



Santa Fe University of Art and Design was originally known as St. Michael’s College, the oldest chartered college in New Mexico, opened in 1859 and operated out of an adobe hut. The school was granted a charter for higher education in 1874 as the College of the Christian Brothers of New Mexico. In 1966, it became the College of Santa Fe. In July 2009, after a period of financial uncertainty, the College of Santa Fe’s future was secured through a public-private partnership including the City of Santa Fe, The New Mexico State Governor’s Office and Laureate Education. The College of Santa Fe was renamed Santa Fe University of Art and Design on August 30, 2010.[1][2]


The 60-acre Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus includes three art galleries, five performance spaces, four libraries, five residence halls, and studios/labs for design and music production. Other artistic and cultural facilities include the Visual Arts Center, Garson Studios, and The Anne and John Marion Center for Photographic Arts.


The Fine Arts Gallery presents exhibitions, lectures, and social gatherings, including the annual Santa Fe University of Art and Design juried student exhibition awards. Council 241 Student Gallery is a student-run exhibition space to showcase student work. The MOV-In Gallery is devoted to new media and time-based artworks such as animation, Web art, video art, sound art, robotic sculpture, and installation.

Performance Spaces

Greer Garson Theatre Center, seating 514, consists of a proscenium-style stage with a fly system and orchestra pit. It includes the Weckesser Studio Theatre, a black-box performance space that seats 90, a dance studio, the Claire Stewart Williamson Acting Lab, practice rooms, and scenery and costume shops. The O’Shaughnessy Performance Space (“The Garage”) is equipped for indoor and outdoor readings and concerts and seats 85. Multimedia presentations take place at The Forum, which seats 200. The Atrium Sound Space is a sound-art installation venue.


Fogelson Library Center houses the university’s main academic library, The Forum lecture hall, the Fine Arts Gallery, and the Digital Center for music, film and Web production. The Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Library is devoted to the history, aesthetics, and technology of photography. The Chase Art History Library, located in the Thaw Art History Center, contains rare books on the art of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican and South American art, Andean art, Native American art, Spanish Colonial art and architecture, and modern Latin American art.

Main Buildings and Facilities

The Visual Arts Center

Home to the art and photography departments, the Visual Arts Center is a series of interconnected buildings designed by Ricardo Legorreta. Facilities include The Anne and John Marion Center for Photographic Arts; the Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Library, a special collections library on the history, aesthetics, and technology of photography; Thaw Art History Center; Visual Resources Center; Chase Art History Library; Tishman Hall, housing painting and drawing studios; Tipton Hall lecture facility; and Council 241 Student Gallery.

Garson Studios

Founded in 1989 by actress and university patron Greer Garson, Garson Studios is a 27,000-square-foot motion picture soundstage facility. Films made at Garson include No Country for Old Men, The Missing, City Slickers, All the Pretty Horses, North Country, Employee of the Month, Young Guns II, The Sunset Limited, Brothers, Legion, True Grit, Paul, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The Screen

The Screen, a 170-seat stadium-seating theatre with a high-definition curved screen, shows films from around the world to students and the general public.

Benildus Hall

Benildus Hall houses the Creative Writing and Literature program and consists of teaching studios, practice rooms, and rehearsal halls for the Contemporary Music program. Facilities within Benildus include the Graphic Design Digital Lab, Recording Arts Studio, Composition Studio, Computer Music Lab, World Music Studio, and Class Piano Lab.

Driscoll Fitness Center

The university’s fitness center includes an indoor track, climbing wall, weight room, squash and racquetball courts, and outdoor equipment rentals.

Films Produced on Campus

Films produced at Garson Studios on the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus include No Country for Old Men, The Missing, City Slickers, All the Pretty Horses, North Country, Employee of the Month, Young Guns II, The Sunset Limited, Brothers, Legion, True Grit, Paul, and Cowboys and Aliens. Students from all programs are eligible to intern on films produced at Garson Studios.[3]



Santa Fe University of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.


The Art Department, housed within the Visual Arts Center, offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts in painting, mixed media, installation art, drawing, and sculpture.

Contemporary Music

The Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Music program includes performance; recording arts and technology; creating audio for film, multimedia, and Web content; music theory and history; career development; songwriting; composing, and arranging; and performing arts management and entrepreneurship.

Creative Writing and Literature

The Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Literature is designed on a Master of Fine Arts model in which students specialize in two genres including creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction, and screenwriting.


The Bachelor of Arts in Moving Image Arts (Film/Video) program consists of a studio-based curriculum built around the disciplines of production, screenwriting, and critical studies and film history.

Graphic Design

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program explores principles of 2D, 3D, and 4D design. Third-year students can pursue a new-media concentration in interactive design or motion graphics.

Liberal Arts

The liberal arts core curriculum provides the foundation of a baccalaureate education, including developing skills in critical and creative thinking, communication, research, problem-solving, and the ability to see the world from multiple perspectives. The liberal arts core includes courses in composition, humanities, physical sciences, social sciences, cultural diversity, and ethical responsibility.

Performing Arts

The Performing Arts Department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Design, a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. Specializations include: acting, design/technical, and music theatre.


The Photography Department offers a Bachelor of Arts in Photography and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography.

Campus Activities

Artists for Positive Social Change is a year-long series of courses, lectures and performances that explores the influence of the genres of poetry, theater and film on society.

commUNITY Focus Day is an annual event started in 2011 to connect students with local nonprofit organizations for a day of service.

Notable Alumni

Notable Faculty

  • Matt Donovan, Chair, Creative Writing and Literature: recipient of the 2011 Rome Prize, the 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award, the 2007 Bakeless Prize, a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship, a Levis Reading Prize, and a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship. Donovan has published poems in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, and The Threepenny Review.
  • Dana Levin, Creative Writing and Literature: author of three books, including In the Surgical Theatre (awarded the 1999 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize). Levin’s writing has been published in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, and The Paris Review. Levin has received fellowships and awards from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN, the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, the Library of Congress, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.
  • David Grey, Chair, Graphic Design: Leads an independent graphic design studio with clients that include Nike, Warner Bros. Records, Palette Recordings, and Kompact Records.
  • Steven Paxton, Chair, Contemporary Music Department: Composer, conductor, recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Composers Fellowship; recipient of fellowships and commissions from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, the American College Theater Festival, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Lubbock Youth Symphony Orchestra, and 20th Century Unlimited of Santa Fe.
  • David Scheinbaum, Chair, Photography: Recipient of the 2010 Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, New Mexico's highest artistic honor.
  • Linda Swanson, Chair, Art: Swanson’s paintings are in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum and the Newark Museum.
  • John Weckesser, Chair, Performing Arts: Recipient of several National Endowment for the Arts stipends and the 2001 City of Santa Fe Arts Commission Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts; former member of the New Mexico Arts Commission.
  • Harry Mathias, Chair, Moving Image Arts: 2010 Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE); Academy Award nominee; two-term board member of the International Cinema Technology Association; director of photography for 18 feature films, 21 network TV shows, and 276 commercials.
  • Victor Talmadge, Faculty, Performing Arts Department: actor in David Mamet's November; played The King in the Broadway national tour of The King and I; played Scar in the Los Angeles production of The Lion King. Talmadge’s play The Gate of Heaven won The Nakashima Peace Prize and was produced at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Old Globe theater, Ford's Theatre, and the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Jon Jory, President's Chair, Performing Arts Department: Director of more than 125 plays and producer of more than 1,000 plays; member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame; recipient of the National Theatre Conference Award and the American Theatre Association's Distinguished Career Award.
  • Marcia Dixcy Jory, Faculty and Costume Designer, Performing Arts Department: Designed costumes for the Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Intiman Theatre, and the Seattle Children’s Theatre, and more than 70 productions as resident costume designer for Actors Theatre of Louisville, including 30 premieres for the Humana Festival of New American Plays.


Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Students have the opportunity to intern at this local museum.

International Programs

Study Abroad

Students can spend their fourth year in Auckland, New Zealand, at Media Design School, where they can study 3D animation graphic design, game programming, and creative advertising.

Graphic design students can spend their junior year at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) in Milan, Italy, and earn a BFA in Graphic Design from Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a BA in Graphic Design from NABA.

Online Community

Santa Fe University of Art and Design is one of the sponsors of Frontier, “an international digital community of young artists and designers representing all disciplines” at The website is sponsored by Laureate International Universities network design schools in Europe, Australasia and the United States.

External links


  1. ^ Richardson to welcome CSF students, Associated Press, Sept. 21, 2009
  2. ^ Councilors OK plan to buy CSF campus, Santa Fe New Mexican, July 29, 2009
  3. ^ Students in All Departments Are Now Eligible to Intern on Film Productions, Press release, February 15, 2011

Coordinates: 35°39′25″N 105°58′37″W / 35.657°N 105.977°W / 35.657; -105.977

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