Student wearing gloves, goggles and a heavy coat sliding a brick into a ceramics kiln that has flames rising out of a vent hole.

School of Visual Arts

The Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) is a place where creative and critical thinkers, makers, and educators shape awareness and change the way our world is seen, experienced, and understood.

You belong here

Our challenging undergraduate and graduate programs span Studio Art, Digital Arts and Design, and Art Education. We also offer online courses tailored to diverse learners.

SoVA’s internationally recognized, award-winning faculty are dedicated to learning, research, and educational imagination. Visual thinkers, creators, shapers, and educators – you belong here.


School of Visual Arts
210 Patterson Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-1158 (fax)

Vagner Mendonça-Whitehead
Director of School of Visual Arts

Alumni Spotlight

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alumni spotlight

Brian Kappel

Art, B.A. 1998

Brian is a Portland, Oregon-based artist, graphic designer and a self-described “tinkerer.” After a more than 15-year career with Nike, he founded Space Monkey Designs, a firm that is responsible for numerous high-profile designs including VIP event space for ESPN, set design for the Dew Tour and the College Football Playoff suites.
A wealth of student artwork featured in the Zoller Gallery

Faculty Spotlight

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faculty spotlight

Rudy Shepherd

Professor of Art

Rudy Shepherd’s work explores the nature of evil through the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture and performance. This exploration involves investigations into the lives of criminals and victims of crime. He explores the complexity of these stories and the grey areas between innocence and guilt in a series of paintings and drawings of both the criminals and the victims, making no visual distinctions between the two. Going along with these portraits is a series of sculptures called the Black Rock Negative Energy Absorbers and Healing Devices. They are a group of sculptures meant to remove negative energy from people, thus allowing them to respond to life with the more positive aspects of their personality.

See all our Faculty