Walsh Launches New Visual and Performing Arts Degree

Walsh University senior Karen Klatt knew she wanted to attend Walsh the moment she stepped on campus. But it was the opportunity and support she received to pursue a degree in art history that made her dream a reality.

“I had heard about Walsh and its arts program during my painting class, and I thought I’d go check it out. When I first visited, I could really see myself here,” said Klatt who is from Portage Lakes, Ohio. “When I received the call that I had won the Presidential Scholarship into Walsh’s Honors Program, I knew it was a sign from Jesus that Walsh was where I was meant to be.”

This spring, Walsh University has announced the launch of its newest undergraduate degree program in the Visual and Performing Arts. Students enrolled in the program pursue a comprehensive bachelor's degree, with the ability to select one of three focus areas: Studio Art, Art History or Music/Drama. This program provides an opportunity for students interested in careers in the arts to gain a solid foundation in these disciplines, as well as to see and explore connections among them.

"Walsh University is excited to launch this comprehensive arts degree program that will allow students who are interested in creative careers the opportunity to explore a variety of disciplines, make connections among them, and specialize in one area," said Katherine T. Brown, Ph.D., Walsh Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "Students with a bachelor's degree in the arts are well positioned to work in a host of arts career fields upon graduation and/or to augment their degree with an MBA if they want to pursue arts administration."

For students like Karen, the Visual and Performing Arts major will provide a pathway to a career that combines a love of the arts, with the marketable skills needed for success. As a triple major and recipient of the Joanne Lattavo Endowed Scholarship, Karen will graduate this spring with degrees in Art History, English and Education. After graduate school, her hope is to secure a job as a museum curator or director of a children’s educational art program.

“I think the arts are essential. One of the greatest benefits has been the creative problem solving skills that I’ve developed as a result of being heavily involved in the arts,” said Klatt. “We can’t separate art from life. It is there whether people realize it or not. Everything we see from products to packaging to branding, there is an artist behind all of that creativity. To me, art is beauty, truth and goodness, and we definitely need more of that in our society. It has truly blessed me in my own life.”

The Birk Center for the Arts on Walsh's campus provides the setting for students to gain experience in all aspects of the arts. The Birk Center houses Walsh's fine art studio, musical rehearsal hall and an Atrium Gallery that frequently features student exhibits including one by Karen Klatt in 2018. In addition, students have numerous opportunities for involvement in the Art Club, Genesius Players Drama Troupe, Walsh Band and the Chorale. In addition, every Visual and Performing Arts major completes an internship prior to graduation. 

“The Liberal Arts focus of this degree program suits the increasingly interdisciplinary world in which we live," said Dr. Britt Cooper, Chair, Division of Fine and Performing Arts. "The capacity to create and appreciate human-made beauty in all its forms prepares students for a wide breadth of careers in the arts. Prospective artists will need to change as the world changes, and our students will be enabled through the flexibility of this program to do precisely that.”

Karen also credits her faith and Walsh’s Catholic community for the support she has received during her faith journey.

“Walsh has been instrumental in my success. I love that God is honored here. I can talk to my professors about faith and what that means in this day and age. I know that God has a plan for my life. I’m just so grateful to be in an environment like Walsh’s that encourages that I listen to Him,” said Klatt. “There was a time when I thought I couldn’t pursue a career in the arts because I thought it wasn’t marketable and there weren’t jobs. But my Walsh professors helped me to uncover the path I’m on to have a successful career doing what I love. I wish everyone could have that experience. Walsh has truly helped me to pursue my dreams.”