The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts


The Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) is a part of the College of Arts and Architecture, located on Penn State’s University Park Campus.  SoVA offers degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in three areas of study, including Studio Art, Art Education, and Interdisciplinary Digital Studio.  SoVA also offers a range of online courses across all areas of study through Penn State’s World Campus. Our nationally and internationally recognized faculty are dedicated to the learning, research, and educational imagination that takes place in the studios and classrooms at SoVA.


The Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) is a place where creative and critical thinkers, makers, and educators shape awareness about what is possible and, in doing so, change the way our world is seen, experienced, and understood. Our visual arts and design programs and affiliations enable individuals and communities to respond imaginatively to the continuous rush of social and cultural change through exploration, expression and communication that takes place in a multiplicity of ideas, forms, actions, and settings.

Visual arts practitioners use the media, processes, and contexts of art and design to explore ideas, imagine problems, question answers, probe issues, and educate others about how art experience can help us to see and think differently. Self-discovery processes, expressive outcomes, and methods of creative inquiry are mindful and purposeful. These practices make use of the unlimited human capacity to give form to creative ideas that are personally transformative, and, when expressed and communicated in public spaces, have real world impact. When visual arts and design practices are applied in social, educational, technological, and political settings, the outcomes of artistic research can assume many roles in influencing how knowledge is created and how understanding is achieved.


SoVA’s mission is pursued within a variety of contexts that exploit our capacities as visual thinkers and self-reflective individuals who participate in communities of makers as socially engaged practitioners.