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Rhodes > Fine Art > About > Overview


Facilities and Environment

The Fine Art Department has outstanding contemporary facilities. The Main Fine Art building is a gracious historic structure which was the first purpose-built art school in the country. It is here that the department has a gallery, its administrative hub, and the first year studios are housed. A well-equipped photography studio allows the department to teach black and white photography, colour, and digital processes. A series of spacious studios are housed in the Painting and Sculpture Block in addition to an extensive technical workshop and a dedicated custom designed lecture theatre. The department has a magnificent printmaking facility, as well as a state-of-the-art  digital arts computer studio. The impressive new Rhodes Library has an excellent, and burgeoning, collection of art books and journals.

The Fine Art buildings are set in what is undoubtedly the most attractive university campus in South Africa. Rhodes is also a safe environment, with excellent well-managed residences as well as an accessible campus that is easy to navigate. 

Teaching Approach

The Studio Practice staff at Rhodes are practicing artists who exhibit their work regularly; and all the Art History & Visual Culture staff are active researchers with diverse interests in aspects of contemporary art production. As such the lecturers are dynamic people who enjoy sharing their valuable and informed first-hand knowledge. Classes at Rhodes are kept small, with very favourable staff-student ratios, and this allows the fine art lecturing staff to give close one-on-one attention to students.

The art-making environment at Rhodes is an enabling, affirming and supportive one. Staff members use encouragement to elicit work of excellence and to ensure that each student realises his or her full potential.

Exhibition Opportunities

Rhodes provides students with ongoing opportunities to exhibit their works to a wider public. Apart from shows directed at the University and Grahamstown community, student work is sent to exhibitions and competitions in larger centres. Importantly students also participate annually in the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown. This is not only the most prestigious and significant arts festival in the country but it is also the arena where many emergent young artists launch their careers. By studying at Rhodes our students have a unique opportunity to gain national exposure and achieve recognition at the Festival. Our graduating students also mount their own individual solo exhibitions at the end of their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Projects and Community Engagement Initiatives

Fine Line Press

The Fine Line Press is a collaborative printmaking press and studio established within the Printmedia section. While private editioning studios exist elsewhere in the country it is unique in southern Africa as the only fine art press based in a tertiary institution. Integral to the Fine Line Press initiative is a visiting artist programme, research facility, and community engagement. The initiative allows artists from a wide spectrum and range of disciplinary backgrounds to work collaboratively with staff, graduate students and press assistants to originate and edition fine art prints. Students have the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of individual artistic approaches and participate in stimulating creative dialogue and hands-on experience. 

Student Community Engagement Project

The Fine Art Department, in collaboration with the Psychology Department, are engaged with the initiation of an art teaching program at Fort England Psychiatric Hospital in Grahamstown. The initiative has grown out of a successful pilot project, initiated by the late Mark Hipper, at the Tower Hospital in Fort Beaufort.

National Arts Festival Professional Practice Mentoring

Fine Art Students are involved in a mentoring project in collaboration with the National Festival of the Arts whereby they assist with exhibition curation, hanging, documentation and related logistics. As part of this professional practice initiative they also perform custodian duties in support of main programme exhibitions

Last Modified: Wed, 31 May 2017 16:24:36 SAST