Art Meets Science

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Department of Visual Arts assistant professor John Valentino assists student Jessica Bender of Ponchatoula with a still-life photographic assignment in Southeastern's digital art photography studio. The photography studio includes a large format digital camera and table top, a large-format printer capable of producing prints 50 inches wide, and a computer-controlled mill capable of carving real objects from computer generated files. Gary Keown, professor of visual arts, directs Southeastern'sdigital art program.


Jessica Bender, Art Education major

Michael Kyles, Social Studies Education major


Department of Visual Arts

John Valentino, Assistant Professor

Gary Keown, Professor and Director of the Digital Art Program



It's a program where students learn the secrets of marrying art and science, yielding new media for the modern digital age.


Gone are the drafting tables, craft knives, color charts, proportion wheels, pica rulers and wax machines so familiar to yesterday's graphic design students. In Southeastern's Department of Visual Arts, labs with rows of sleek flat screen monitors and speedy G5 Macintosh computers have replaced the traditional tools of the trade.


Professor Gary Keown with student Michael Kyles viewing a print on the large-format printer

Gary Keown, director of the digital art program, shows the details of a print made on the lab's large format printer to student Michael Kyles of Baton Rouge.

The labs give students opportunities to learn the latest in digital art and design software on the same state-of-the-art computers that they will encounter on the job.

"Working in the digital art lab has been a great experience for me," says Jessica Bender of Ponchatoula, an art education major. "The world is moving toward a technological age, and I would have been left behind if it weren't for the digital art program at Southeastern."


Funded largely by a Board of Regents enhancement grant, Southeastern's digital art labis one of the best equipped labs in the south. In addition, the digital art program received high praise from the Board of Regents' out-of-state reviewers. According to the reviewers, "This is a well-balanced program that cuts across foundation, graphic design and fine arts studies. This broad focus is not often the case at other institutions. Accordingly, this project could serve as a model for other universities in Louisiana."


Gary Keown, professor and director of the digital art program agrees. "It's part of a well-designed approach," he said. "In addition to the on-campus training, we encourage the students to complete an internship so they get a feel for how design works in the real world. And we help them 'package' themselves so that when they graduate, our students are ready to go out into that real world as confident design professionals."


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