The venue sponsor for WordCamp Nashville 2012 is no stranger to design, the Internet or evolution to meet changing needs. Watkins College of Art, Design & Film began in 1885 as Watkins Institute; in January 2012 it added a new concentration in web design to its curriculum.
Complementing the college’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, the Web Design Concentration will allow students to develop competence and skill as web designers and web developers, plus acquire knowledge of industry essentials such as typography, graphic design theory and illustration.
“Since the beginning of time, the paradigms of art, design and education have dramatically mirrored the consciousness of civilization,” said Ellen Meyer, Watkins’ president, when the new program was announced. “It is in this context that we embrace new technologies and web design.”
That philosophy makes Watkins a perfect site for WordCamp Nashville on Saturday, April 21.
The college was modeled after Cooper Union in New York City and became the second such community-based institution designed to meet the broad educational and cultural needs of its citizens.
Art has always been a major focus at Watkins, which was founded to help educate Nashville residents in need and later, helped train immigrants and prepare women for the workforce in the 30s and 40s. Servicemen returning from World War II finished their high school degrees at Watkins.
Watkins became a baccalaureate institution in 1997 and today operates as a independent, non-profit four-year, nationally accredited college of the visual arts. The college received approval for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Web Design Concentration from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the national accrediting agency for art and design and art and design-related disciplines.
A studio-based curriculum that encourages individual and collaborative exploration, combined with an academic foundation, gives Watkins’ more than 400 students a unique experience. The 13-acre campus includes two residence halls, multiple art galleries.
Samuel Watkins, the school’s namesake and founder, was orphaned at age 4 and became a self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist. He had no formal education but left $100,000 and property in the center of Nashville in his will to establish a school that would teach those in need the “business of life.”
We think the WordPress folks would have liked him.