Department of Art & Design Historical Timeline
August 14, 1871
Henry S. Lehr established the Northwestern Ohio Normal School in the village of Johnstown, later to be renamed Ada after the postmaster’s daughter. 147 students were enrolled; six instructors were employed. The term Normal was descriptive of the education of teachers for the public school system.
The Department of Fine Art was established. The first professors were Mrs. Mary M. Lehmann, painting, and F.C. Fryett, drawing. A total of 17 students were enrolled in the program.
The catalog described the department as “a new feature of the institution, which has lately been introduced. The art of drawing and sketching is almost indispensable to success in primary teaching. It is the same to the teacher of natural history. In fact, drawing, sketching and drafting are not only accomplishments, but are useful in nearly every calling of life. Drawing and painting educate the hand and eye, cultivate a love of the beautiful, and refine our natures. Special attention will be given to perspective and Blackboard Drawing to those preparing themselves for teaching school; while all the other branches, as Oil Painting, Crayon, Water Coloring, and India Inking, will be given proper attention.”
In the department of fine art, 89 students were enrolled with students taking courses in four programs:
• portrait: 6 students
• landscape: 18 students
• crayon: 1 student
• drawing: 49 students
Tuition for fine art students was:
• pencil drawing, 50 lessons: $3
• crayon, 30 lessons: $8
• water colors, 30 lessons: $8
• oil painting, landscape, 30 lessons of 40 hours each, $10
• oil painting, portrait, 30 lessons of 4 hours each: $12
• India ink, 30 lessons: $5
57 students were enrolled in the fine art department; 169 students were enrolled in courses.
The first graduates from the fine art department were Virginia S. Mercer of Columbiana County, Ohio and Lottie McAdams of Logan County, Ohio.
The institution’s name was changed from Northwestern Ohio Normal School to Ohio Normal University. The new name reflected that students represented all geographic areas of the state.
Students’ fine art work was selected for inclusion in a university exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exhibition held in Chicago; the exhibit won a ribbon and a bronze metal.
The institution’s name was changed from Ohio Normal University to Ohio Northern University. The newer name reflected major academic changes underway. The name change also preserved the designation of the institution’s initials, “ONU.”
The department’s name was changed to the College of Fine Arts.
Hiram P. Whinnery was appointed the first dean of the College of Fine Arts.
Major course of studies included Painting (landscape, portrait, fruit and flower in oils and water colors), Drawing (pencil, India ink, crayon, charcoal and all black and white work), and Freehand and Perspective.
“Those wishing to graduate from the College of Fine Arts will be required to do proficient and satisfactory work in the following branches: Freehand, Crayon, Perspective, Pencil, India Ink, Charcoal Drawing; Lettering; Painting in Landscape, Portrait, Fruit and Flowers in oil and water colors; Pyrography, or burnt wood; Sketching from nature, and China painting. Those completing the above course of studies will be entitled to the degree, “Bachelor of Fine Arts.” A graduating fee of Three Dollars will be charged.”
Ms. Lucinda B. Denny became the dean of the College of Fine Arts and taught drawing, painting, etc. She also taught drawing courses in the College of Engineering.
The College changed its name to the School of Fine Arts under the leadership of Ms. Lucinda Denny.
Ms. Mary Helen Ley became dean of the School of Fine Arts.
From the 1910 catalog: “The School is able to announce that, ample arrangements have been made for competent and thorough instruction in the fine arts, and the methods in vogue in the Art Institutes of Chicago, one of America’s leading art schools, will be brought into use in the department.”
“Those wishing a certificate from the School of Fine Arts are required to pursue, and show proficiency in these branches: Freehand, Crayon, Perspective, Pencil, India Ink, Charcoal Drawing: Lettering: Painting in Landscape, Portrait, Fruit and Flowers in oil and water colors: Pyrography, or burnt wood: Sketching from nature and life: China Decoration, Modeling, etc. Students satisfactorily completing the courses above mentioned are eligible to a certificate.”
Ohio Northern purchased the Ada School of Arts and Crafts, an independent institution headed by Mrs. S.M. Harford.
The 1912 catalog first described the facilities for the art school. Called The Studio, it was “well equipped with models in all its departments, is located in the central portion of the city. The fine collection of the late Col. Albert Rogall, a connoisseur and artist, form a part of the four thousand studies belonging to the school. Students have access to these studies and also to standard art magazines and literature of the day.”
In connection with The Studio was the Art Shop, “facilities for furnishing the best possible material and supplies for all branches of art work at a minimum price. Easels and some other equipment are provided by the school.”
“A kiln set-up in the building affords opportunity for making a practical study of the firing of china. White china is found on sale in the Art Shop.”
Formerly the art supervisor in Defiance, Ms. S. Rae Berlet was appointed dean.
Courses of instruction included:
Preparatory Classes: Drawing from simple objects where special attention is given to correct seeing of form and proportion.
Modeling of simple objects to give a comprehensive study of light and shade values.
Drawing of interiors to give a systematic training in perspective drawing.
Painting Classes: In either oil, water color or pastel, from still life and nature. Out door sketching in season.
Decoration of China: In the realistic and conventional.
Normal Courses: For public school teachers.
Ms. Mary Helen Ley returned as dean of The School of Fine Art to teach drawing, painting, etc.
According to the catalog, the School of Fine Art, along with College of Agriculture, was “suspended for the present.”
Ms. Leah Mildred Brown was appointed director of The School of Fine Art.
Alice Ensign Webb was appointed instructor and director of the School of Fine Arts.
Course descriptions were first included in the catalog.
The School of Fine Arts merged with the College of Liberal Arts; The school changed its name to the Department of Art.
A course in interior decoration was offered during spring quarter: “A study of house planning based upon the fundamental principles of design and their application to interiors and furniture. Prerequisite: Courses in Design.
As the University fell on financial hardships, The College of Liberal Arts was forced to either eliminate or consolidate programs. The department of art met a similar demise. In the College of Engineering, a variety of drawing courses were offered including lettering, perspective drawing, orthographic projection and pictorial drawing. In 1939, courses in woodworking, metals, and crafts and hobbies were offered through the department of industrial arts education.
Hazel M. Younkman, B.S.Ed. (ONU): M.A. (OSU), was appointed instructor in public school art.
The industrial arts education department continued to offer classes in drawing, photography, woodwork, design, metalwork, wood turning, ceramics, wood finishing. In elementary education, three courses in public school art were offered.
The department officially was reestablished in the College of Liberal Arts and renamed the department of fine art. Only six courses were offered: three classes in public school art, principles of drawing, principles of design, and history and appreciation of art.
The department changed its name to the department of art.
The department of art primarily moved its educational program to the Arts Annex (originally called Wesleyan Chapel).
A minor in art was first offered; 24 credit hours of course-work required.
Hazel M. Younkman, B.S.Ed. (ONU): M.A. (OSU), instructor in art, was officially appointed the first chairman of the department.
Courses included art education, freehand drawing, design, art history, ceramics, and painting. The first commercial art course was offered in the department:
“Commercial Art 251, 252: Principles of lettering and its application to commercial design. Illustrative drawing with pen and ink, pencil, wash and other mediums. Composition and introduction to the various phases of commercial art.”
President F. Bringle McIntosh was the first to sign up for an extension course offered in ceramics.
The Public School Art Program was moved to the Division of Teacher Education. The art department remained with the Division of Humanities.
John H. West, B.F.A. and M.F.A (Ohio), assistant professor of art (1958), was appointed chairman of the department of art.
Mrs. Younkman retired in December.
The first courses in printing, graphic arts, and jewelry were offered in the department of industrial arts.
Art was offered as a major (bachelor of arts degree) for the first time.
As additional faculty and courses enhanced the academic program in the department, a public exhibition became a graduation requirement for senior art majors.
In May, Winona Stewart became the first Ohio Northern student to graduate with a major in art.
A course called Lettering was first offered: “The use and practice of calligraphy with emphasis on student practice.”
The Arts Annex was closed; demolished in 1970. The department was reassigned the use of a room to the rear of the former Garver auto parts store on West Lincoln, and some classes were also taught in the old Terrace Union (Quonset Hut).
The Lettering course became Lettering and Commercial Design.
A 1-credit hour course called Sketching and Renderings was required for all art students: “This course is designed to introduce the student to “thinking” visually and carrying this “thinking” to a completed state. Emphasis placed on developing awareness in the student of his surroundings and translating visual experiences into drawings.”
The department began its permanent art collection.
Senior Review 490 became a graduation requirement: “Preparation for, and evaluation of, the comprehensive examination and the senior exhibit required of all art majors for graduation. Permission, senior status. 1 hour.”
The Division of Fine Arts in the College of Liberal Arts was created: departments of art, music and speech and theater.
Printmaking (relief, serigraphy, lithography and intaglio) was added to the curriculum.
The Art Club was organized.
Bruce Grimes, B.F.A. (Millikin), M.F.A. (Ohio), assistant professor of art, was appointed chairman of the department of art.
The department offered two international study aboard programs: Seminar A to France, Holland and England, and Seminar B to Rome, the Vatican, Florence and Madrid.
Thomas L. Gordon, B.F.A. and M.F.A. (Ohio), associate professor of art, was appointed chairman of the department.
Prof. Bruce Grimes lead a seminar in August to England, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.
Prof. Bruce Grimes completed a number of sculptures in time for the dedication of the Wesley Center.
An art orientation course was first offered: Orientation 000 (1 hour): “Familiarization with the department, requirements for majors, planning program of courses, university catalog and library. Required of all majors in the department.”
The first Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art offered. “A candidate for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree may major in painting, printmaking, sculpture or ceramics… A minimum of 24 hours must be completed in the student’s major area of concentration.”
Graphic Design 222 (formerly entitled Lettering) was first offered.
The University was awarded a grant from the Kresge Foundation to help improve academic facilities, including the construction of the Wilson Art Center. (Original plans included moving the department from the former Garver auto parts store to Brown Building.)
The old Terrace Union was demolished in March to make room for the Wilson Art Center and the Elzay Gallery of Art.
In December 1976, a few classes were held in the Wilson Art Center for the first time.
May 21: The Wilson Art Center was officially dedicated.
The first art students graduated in May with a BFA degree.
The College of Liberal Arts changed its name to the College of Arts and Sciences.
Graphic design officially added to the program’s concentrations; An internship (471) was required for the first time for all graphic design students.
Junior and senior high school students from 23 Ohio counties participated in the Scholastic Art Awards Competition held in the Elzay Gallery of Art and hosted by the department.
A minor in art offered in the department program.
An Alumni Art Show was on display in the Elzay Gallery of Art during Homecoming.
James DeVore, B.F.A. and M.F.A. (Ohio), professor of art, was appointed chairman of the department of art.
The department received 1,439 entries from northwest Ohio for the high school Scholastic Art Awards Exhibit sponsored in cooperation with Scholastic Magazine and the department of art.
Robert Nelson, a Pennsylvania artist, and Bert Fink, a Michigan ceramic artist, spent three days in the department of art providing workshops to students during the annual Fine Arts Festival. The Fine Arts Visitation Day for high school students was also held during the weekend.
A second course in graphic design added to the curriculum.
The Spring Pottery Fair was held.
The Shelley C. Petrillo Award was established and first presented to a junior student majoring in art.
A third course in graphic design was added to the curriculum; Graphic Design 3 (ART 224) “may be repeated for credit once to total 6 hours.”
Bruce Chesser, B.F.A. and M.F.A. (Ohio), associate professor of art, was appointed chair of the department of art.
The Hardin County Youth Arts Festival was held on campus with the juried exhibit in Elzay Gallery.
Colonel Elmer E. and Lyla Welty donated their Asian Art Collection to the university.
The Arts of Africa Conference was organized by Prof. Judith Greavu and held at ONU Nov. 6–7.
The curriculum moved from a 3 credit to a 4 credit model with five concentrations. The new model consolidated art history courses and eliminated the Graphic Design 3 course; art education courses were moved to the education department.
On May 22, construction began on the 7,000-square-foot addition to the Wilson Art Center and a lobby for the Elzay Gallery of Art.
Col. William O. Elzay, former Ada resident and Life Member of the Ohio Northern board of trustees, died May 26, 1995 at age 91.
The Annex to the Wilson Art Center was dedicated on October 14, 1995. Officiating was President DeBow Freed with remarks by Dr. Eugene Frazer (board of trustees chair), Prof. Bruce Chesser (department of art chair), Toma Grothous (senior art major/Kappa Pi) and Shannon Burns (senior art major).
Four concentrations in the B.F.A. program were consolidated to form the new studio arts concentration.
Kappa Pi members created ceramic bowls for the West Ohio Food Bank’s (Lima) Empty Bowl Lunch.
“Rainforest,” an art workshop for elementary school aged children was held in march; coordinated by Prof. Judith Greavu and area artist Meg Dickason.
Graphic design courses were updated; Graphic Design 3 (ART 225) added back to the curriculum.
Melissa Eddings, B.F.A. (Ohio), M.F.A. (Edinboro), assistant professor of art, was appointed chair of the department of art.
Graphic design courses expanded to five classes.
Senior art/graphic design major Aimee Roettker was a recipient of the David L. Stashower Visionary Scholarship Award in Communications (awarded by Liggett-Stashower Inc. of Cleveland).
The AIGA/ONU student chapter was first formed.
John Lysak, a master printmaker, director of the Egress Press and Research, and Graduate Program Head at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, conducted a two-day monoprint workshop held at the Wilson Art Center. A scholarship award presented during the student juried show was named after Prof. Lysak.
Brit Rowe, B.F.A. (Ohio Northern), M.F.A. (Michigan), assistant professor of art, was appointed interim chair of the department of art; appointed chair in 2003.
Prof. David Barker, printmaker and scholar from the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, presented a printmaking workshop and lecture during a three day visit to Ohio Northern; The Elzay Gallery also displayed the University of Ulster’s 30 Years of the Printmaking Workshop exhibit.
For the first time, a portfolio review was required for all incoming students.
The Guerilla Girls conducted a day-long poster workshop held at the Wilson Art Center.
1972 graduate Marilyn Lysohir was selected for “21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada,” an exhibition surveying the best of contemporary ceramics in North America.
Junior art/graphic design major Michael Sanata won first place in the Chlorine Free Products Association poster competition.
Five graphic design students were selected for a national design exhibition Almost Famous held at Eastern Kentucky University; Senior art/graphic design major Laurie Godfrey won third place in the 3D category.
Senior Melissa Swabb won second place and senior Nate Andrews won honorable mention in the Kappa Pi International Art Honorary’s scholarship competition.
Senior Ashley Dally won second place in the ArtSpace/Liam Camera Club Annual Photography Exhibit.
The department’s film series started in September with Dirty Pictures.
Artist Bernie Casey led a three-day workshop, lectures and a film screening at ONU.
Chris Mizera, a senior graphic design student, became the first ONU student to attend the AIGA national design conference.
The Kappa Pi senior trip was scheduled for Cleveland.
The Honors Seminar: Art Appreciation was first offered through the Honors College.
Senior art/studio arts major Cherie Grant won honorable mention in the Kappa Pi International Art Honorary’s scholarship competition.
Senior art/graphic design major Laurie Godfrey won the Twice Ten Art Club Award.
Senior art/graphic design major Ashley Dally was selected by the Getty College of Arts & Sciences to represent ONU in the USA Today’s All-USA College Academic Team competition; She also won the DeBow Freed Leadership Award.
Displayed on campus for the first time, woodblock prints of Paul Jacoulet from the Welty Collection were exhibited in September.
A two-week trip to Italy was organized by the department in June.
Visiting artist Marty Fielding organized “Point of Departure,” an exhibit, lectures and ceramic workshops in January.
Senior Laurie Godfrey won the DeBow Freed Leadership Award.
Printmaker Kate Bender spent two days giving a workshop demonstrating the a la poupe method.
Dr. Robert Manzer, dean of the Getty College of Arts and Sciences, presented a lecture “Politics and the Arts: From Eternal Glory to the Modern Individual” for the ONU art faculty exhibition in May.
Profs. Bruce Chesser and Judy Greavu retired.
The department’s first comprehensive student handbook was published in September.
Back to the Future—A Ceramic Connection was curated by Prof. Bruce Chesser.
The first Foundations Honors Exhibit was held in May–August.
A trip to France was organized by the department.
12 Ohio Northern students, faculty and alumni were accepted to the ArtSpace/Lima spring juried show; Senior art major Toby Baker won first place in the 3D category; Ed Corle won second.
Senior Hillary Gobin won the David Humphreys Miller Award at the Wassenberg Art Center’s Annual Juried Art Exhibit.
ONU senior art major Toby Baker, Prof. Emeritus Bruce Chesser, and recent art/graphic design graduate Laurie Godfrey were selected for the Ohio All-Media Art Competition held at Ashland University.
The first high school design camp (Design: Think. Know. Do.) was held in June.
The first Saturday Morning Arts (SMArts) program was held throughout October.
Advertising design was first offered as a concentration; A non-western art history course (ART 200: Non-Western Art: Thematic Explorations) was first included in the curriculum.
Earth Day was celebrated in the department.
Senior Alex Cramer was accepted to the All-Ohio Art Exhibition.
Alphabet exhibit held in December; AIGA/ONU student chapter designed opening reception, including a catalog.
The department published a catalog for the exhibit Bursts, Atmosphere and Stasis.
The art and design program gained national recognition as one of the top programs in the country for artistic students in Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers (2nd edition).
The department published a newsletter for parents of incoming freshmen.
Prof. Linda Lehman, art education instructor, inducted into the Ohio Art Education Association Circa Honor Society.
The department of art implemented a major curriculum change. Concentrations were eliminated to form four majors: advertising design (B.A. and B.F.A. degrees), art education (B.A. degree), graphic design (B.A. and B.F.A. degrees), and studio arts (B.A. degree and B.F.A. degree with concentrations in two-dimensional and three-dimensional).
An eight-day trip to England was held after graduation.
Andrew Steingass, art/studio arts major from Ada, Ohio, becomes the first student from Ohio Northern to win the Excellence in Visual Arts Award from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio.
Katelyn Amendolara, art/graphic design major from Canfield, Ohio, becomes the first art student to present during Heidelberg’s 16th Annual Minds at Work Student Research Conference.
A strategic affiliation agreement completed with the University of the Arts London.
The gallery program hosted The Graphic Imperative: 40 Years of International Posters for Peace, Social Justice and the Environment. A catalog was produced by a senior graphic design student for the ONU exhibit.
Sophomore art/studio arts major Jeff Gibbons was accepted to study at the Center for Cartoon Studies, Vermont.
The first ever “Toby and Ken Baker Award for Creativity” was presented during the Student Juried Art Show in November.
The first students graduated in May with an advertising design concentration.
Two graphic design students are the first to study at the University of the Arts London (Chelsea College of Communication).
The first ever One Fine Arts Weekend was held in the spring.
The AIGA/ONU student chapter designed the identity for the 2010 Mid-America Print Council Juried Member Show held at Ohio Northern.
Junior art/studio arts major Fred Frances received the Nell Meldahl Scholarship to attend the Paper & Book Intensive held at the University of Maine at Machias.
Katelyn Amendolara was accepted to “South Africa: Perspectives on Democracy” research program.
The department offers its last courses on the quarter system. The department of art & design, along with all undergraduate colleges, moves to a 15-week semester, 3-credit system.
15 art students graduate in May; the last BA/BFA degrees in art with concentrations in studio arts, graphic and advertising design.
Pre-art therapy, a new option in studio arts, offered for the first time.