By: Tanner Tait

For the first time in over a decade, Mount Saint Mary College has a full-time art professor. Assistant Professor of Art and Graphic Design Christopher Neyen is thrilled to join the Mount family, ready to flesh out the art minor and bring graphic design expertise to an already resonating “creative hotbed.”

The art minor is comprised of 18 credits with only two requirements, according to Neyen. “The remainder of the 12 credits are the student’s choice, allowing them to tailor the minor to their specific interests.” Students are able to choose from art courses such as painting, drawing and visual communications, each with historical and cultural studies connected to the corresponding course’s backgrounds.

Other than helping fulfill the art minor, Neyen and Professor Dean Goldberg are working on some special projects, too. Their current project is based on the Newburgh Armory, comprised of “a series of videos, photos and advertisements along with news stories.”

Additionally, Neyen is working on creating a functioning exhibition space on campus, serving as an art gallery capable of holding a number of events each year. “We envision creating opportunities by reaching out to professional creatives working in our neighborhoods and cities, bringing the arts here and making Mount Saint Mary a destination and center,” Neyen said. Without spoiling too much, he hinted that the first exhibition will be this upcoming Spring, featuring both him and Goldberg.

The Mount is already jumping on the opportunity to work with a professional in Graphic Design, as Neyen is regularly being approached for help with visual communications for logo designs, posters, t-shirts and more. “There is a tremendous opportunity here for the arts,” he said. “People who work in the creative fields both traditionally and digitally are literally moving to Newburgh and Beacon daily.”

His first order of business for Mount Saint Mary College’s art scene is getting the word out “that art and design are here.” After that, “the real conversation” about career opportunities and futures in art is able to start, moving past the notions that art is just “frivolous fun or decoration,” as it takes real, genuine work to create something remarkable.

Looking to the horizon, Neyen hopes to create a graphic design minor next. “It’s an excellent choice for any major, but melds especially well with the media studies major,” he said. “This minor would in effect create two separate ‘tracts’ within the discipline: one in Art and one in Graphic Design.” The graphic design minor would allow students especially interested in digital art and design for visual communications to have a focused study, deviating from the art minor.

Where this is life, there is art. Neyen’s favorite word when speaking about Mount Saint Mary and the Art program is “opportunity.” Boasting of our great student body, outstanding faculty and staff, excellent facilities and ideal location, Neyen’s dreams for the Art program are set to flourish. “The dream which I envision,” he said, “is the creation of a vibrant creative community at Mount Saint Mary College, that is recognized both professionally and academically.”