The Department of Art invites you to be a part of the arts in action at Bethany College. Whether seeking to be a practicing studio artist, an art therapist, to lead in the arts business or museum community, or seeking a broad range of skills for success in an ever-changing art landscape – we have the tools and faculty to help you succeed. Our alumni have found success in such places as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Wichita, and Omaha to name a few. They are artists, designers, printmakers, photographers, therapists, educators, business leaders, gallery owners and film makers. We have several majors to choose from and facilities designed specifically for the visual arts to help you expand your horizons. Students exhibit and interact with nationally recognized artists in a centrally located gallery and with an adjacent Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery. Learn with working professional artists and build your portfolio. Most of all…find your creative future!


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Nelson Smith, M.F.A.

Associate Professor of Art Chair of Department of ArtDepartment of Art
Office Mingenback Art Center, 122 Phone: (785) 227-3380, ext. 8147
Photo of Nelson Smith , M.F.A.


Nelson Smith has received wide-spread recognition for his work as a painter and sound artist. He has been awarded four state Michigan Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grants, the national Art Matters grant, several artist residencies including a Residency Fellow at Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ireland, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Senior Artist in Residence, Harvestworks (New York), Vermont Studio Center, and many other honors and commissions. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His paintings are included in many significant public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art’s Artist Book Archive and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Besides composing for his own installation and performance productions, his sound designs and scores have also been commissioned for the films and performance works of Sue Carman-Vian, among others. His installation and performance works have been presented in a variety of galleries and non-traditional art spaces in Detroit, New York, and Cleveland.