Since its inception in 1937 the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia (UGA) has been committed to providing the opportunity and the environment for excellent education in studio art, art education, and art history. It offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in each of these areas. Undergraduate majors in studio art include ceramics, drawing and painting, fabric design, graphic design, interior design, jewelry and metalwork design, photography, printmaking, sculpture, studio foundations, IDS scientific illustration, and digital media. A master’s of fine arts degree is offered in most of these disciplines. In 2009 the School of Art had approximately 1,000 students.
The school is named for Lamar Dodd, who as a young man in the 1920s traveled from his home in Georgia to New York City to study at the Art Students League. Dodd learned from and worked with such American art luminaries as George Bridgman, Richard Lahey, Jean Charlot, Thomas Hart Benton, and the “Ashcan School” artists Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, and George Luks. Dodd’s works were exhibited at the New York World’s Fair (1939), the Golden Gate International Exhibition (1939), the Carnegie Institute (1936), and numerous other venues. Dodd’s work is owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, IBM, and the Pepsi-Cola Company.
Dodd headed the art department at UGA from 1938 until 1973, when he stepped down. He remained chair of the Division of Fine Arts until he retired in 1972. Under his leadership the department grew significantly. He was able to secure significant funding from such organizations as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Ford Foundation. In 1963 a new art building was dedicated on UGA’s north campus. The Department of Art was renamed the Lamar Dodd School of Art in a dedication ceremony in 1996, just months before Dodd’s death later that year.
In 2008 a new 172,000-square-foot facility with modern studios, lecture halls, galleries, and a media center opened on the university’s east campus near the Georgia Museum of Art, the School of Music, and the Performing Arts Center. The building features a “green roof” covered with several different varieties of plants, the first of its kind at UGA, to help save energy costs and to conserve water.
In addition to undergraduate and graduate courses, the Dodd School is also responsible for a nationally recognized study abroad program in Cortona, Italy. Cortona, a small, quiet town in central Tuscany, is a veritable museum that offers students a rich artistic and historical environment. Since its inception in 1970 the program has served more than 4,000 students from more than 500 American institutions. Recently the program expanded its facilities. This new space boasts refurbished studios for printmaking, photography, drawing and painting, book arts, and papermaking as well as a small library.
The Lamar Dodd School of Art is one of the most respected public art programs in the nation. All of the school’s programs share a common objective: to provide a well-rounded educational experience, including development of the competencies that are essential for artists, designers, art educators, and art historians.