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Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

Watkins College main entrance
Established 1885
Type Private
President Ellen Meyer
Students 400+
Location Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Campus Urban

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is a four year art and design college located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Watkins College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in film, graphic design, interior design, fine arts, and photography as well as Post-Graduate Certificates in film and graphic design. As of 2005, about 400 students were enrolled, mostly full-time.[1] The college resides in a 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) facility in the MetroCenter area of north Nashville and offers limited on-campus housing.

The Community Education Program serves students age 4 to adult through the Young Artist Program, the Adult Community Education Program, the Artist Lecture Series, and various outreach programs. Classes run on a semester basis: Fall, Spring, and Summer.

The current president of the college is Ellen Meyer.[2]



Watkins was originally founded as Watkins Institute in 1885 by Samuel Watkins, a self-educated Nashville businessman. The school became nationally accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) in 1996. First located on Church Street in downtown Nashville, the school moved to temporary facilities in the 100 Oaks area in 1999, and then to its current location in 2002. Watkins opened its first residence hall in 2005 and its second one in Fall 2008.[2]

Adult Community Education

The Adult Community Education (ACE) Program offers classes for beginning students to advanced artists. The classes meet once a week for nine consecutive weeks. Classes in the classic arts such as photography, drawing, painting, and figure study are offered. ACE also offers specialty courses such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, furniture building and screenwriting. In addition to the nine week courses, smaller focused workshops are offered throughout the semester. These could be one day or last up to six weeks. Workshops cover such subjects as jewelry making, custom framing, tile mosaics, and silk-screening. These workshops change every semester with requests and needs of the community.

Young Artist Program

The staff of artists/instructors in the Young Artists and Teen Program is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Watkins College by providing the finest studio art instructional experiences to all students. The Young Artist Program (YAP) serves students ages 4–18. During the Fall and Spring semesters YAP offers Saturday morning classes that last for six consecutive weeks. A Spring Break program is also available which coincides with Metro Nashville Public School’s Spring Break. In the summer YAP presents five weeks of half day or full day classes for students in the Summer of the Arts program. Classes for ages 4–13 include cartooning, ceramics, drawing, and painting as well as more focused subjects such as kinetic art or learning about art through art history. For teens classes are focused specifically for portfolio-building needs and include filmmaking, photography, drawing, painting, digital arts and more.

Scholarship Opportunities

The Young Artist Program offer scholarship opportunities for students ages 6–18 that are talent and/or need based. These scholarships are provided by various organizations such as the Memorial Foundation and the Nashville Artist Guild. Applications can be found on the YAP website.

Awards and Grants

  • During the Summer of the Arts 2006 program a group of students came together for an intensive two week Filmmaking Boot Camp. The finished product a fantasy film titled Safriana was entered into the Teen Category of the Nashville 2006 Film Festival and won.
  • The Memorial Foundation
  • Metro Nashville Arts Commission
  • Tennessee Arts Commission

Artist Lecture Series

In addition to classes for the community the Community Education department has developed a progressive Artist Lecture Series. In the past artists such as Ming Fay, Patrick Beaulieu, and Bill Daniels have participated. In the Spring 2008 feminist and performance artist Faith Wilding and poet and performer David Berman will be giving lectures on their work. These lectures are free and open to the community.


The Community Education Program serves out into the community as well. Various engagements have brought artist teachers into retirement centers, libraries, and local businesses and schools, teaching classes and workshops for adults, teens, and children.


  1. ^ Lombaerde, Geert De (ed.) (2005). Nashville Business Journal Book of Lists 2006. American City Business Journals.  
  2. ^ a b Sledge, Colby (June 14, 2008). "Watkins names new president". The Tennessean.  

External links



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