About the College of Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University is a major provider of artistic presentations and services to the region in ways that strengthen student learning and faculty and student artistry and research. 

The college's contributions to the region play a critical role in the continuing richness of its cultural landscape:

  • 30 percent or more of all exhibitions of contemporary art in museums and galleries in the region annually represent the work of alumni, current faculty, or current students of the School of Art and Design.
  • 100 percent of the professional orchestras in the region have among their personnel alumni, current faculty, or current students of the School of Music. 
  • 100 percent of the major repertory theatre and dance companies in the region have among their personnel alumni, current faculty or students of the School of Theatre and Dance. 
  • The vast majority of the college's graduates in art and music education who wish to teach in the public schools find employment - and many of them teach in northern Illinois.

Read a message from our dean.


The College of Visual and Performing Arts is:

  • Engaged - "Bringing art to audiences and audiences to art"

  • Inclusive - "Arts for all; all for the arts"

  • Boundless - "Arts across the disciplines"

  • Strong - "Art is a noun: people, places, things"

A community of:

  • Artists who are a presence at the highest level nationally and internationally
  • Scholars working at the cutting-edge and appearing in publications of the highest reputation
  • Teachers routinely given the highest commendation by learners and peers
  • Staff that provides the highest level of service, and most importantly
  • Students eagerly sought by industry, graduate school, and public institutions because they know, the make, they do, perform, speak and write with authority, clarity, and purpose

With research excellence in:

  • Arts and Community Engagement - how the arts make, define, and revitalize communities socially, culturally, financially
  • Arts and Cognition - the effect of arts and art education on cognitive development, mental health, and emotional resiliency 
  • STEAM - investigating interdisciplinary opportunities in the art of science (technology, engineering, math) and the science of art
  • Data Visualization and Narrative - converting data into visual, aural, and dramatic narratives to facilitate more effective communication of data
  • Film Institute - providing a resource (a sound stage and equipment, editing bays, expertise, etc.) for emerging artists and those who might not otherwise have access.

We are educating the new creative class, Generation Renaissance, who will imagine and make a brighter future.