Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Applications Now Being Accepted
Fifteen students at The Fine Arts Center of Greenville County Schools will soon have the opportunity to participate in an architectural design program through an innovative partnership with Clemson University’s School of Architecture and Greenville’s architecture community.  The Art of Architecture program received final approval by the School Board last night.

The four-year program of study, designed to build a bridge between Greenville County Schools and Clemson University’s architecture program, will begin this fall.  Students accepted in the program will learn valuable skills as they study, create, and design. They will be taught by a practicing architect with experience in building renovation and design.

First impressions make a lasting impact, and that is exactly what happened when Clemson School of Architecture Chair Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, entered The Fine Arts Center for the first time.  “The moment I walked into the building, I could feel the energy, passion and talent of its students,” she said. “I knew that the Clemson architecture program could help support the student talent as well as become a beneficiary of the architecture program graduates.”

Bill Pelham, AIA, president of Pelham Architects, LLC, praised the program, saying, “The excellent arts programs of The Fine Arts Center will be greatly enhanced by the addition of the Art of Architecture course offerings. Students with an early interest in architecture will be given exposure before having to choose their college career.”

The course will be taught by Catherine Smith, AIA, owner of Catherine Smith Architect, LLC.
The course will be taught by Catherine Smith, AIA, owner of Catherine Smith Architect, LLC.

"We are very excited to offer this program to students as we continue to expand innovative course offerings to meet students’ needs,” said Superintendent W. Burke Royster.  “The partnership with Clemson University and the architecture community is another avenue for the community to become directly involved in our schools by providing hands-on learning opportunities and experiences in the classroom while preparing students for a future career.”

This will be the first high school architecture program in the country where students who complete identified courses with a grade of B or better will receive university credits for those courses if they are accepted into the School of Architecture at Clemson University.

To be accepted into the Art of Architecture program, a high school student must demonstrate previous experience in visual arts by presenting a portfolio that demonstrates his or her ability to carefully and thoughtfully observe and visually compose.  In addition to completing a formal application, each candidate must provide an academic transcript and teacher recommendation.  Interested students are encouraged to apply online at  Applications are being accepted through Friday, July 26.

For the 2013-14 school year, The Fine Arts Center will accept 15 high school students in Architecture Design Studio I, which will cover architectural communications techniques and analyzing architecture.  The course will be taught by Catherine Smith, AIA, owner of Catherine Smith Architect, LLC.

Smith opened her firm in 2009 after spending eight years in New Orleans working on the repair and renovation of the U. S. Customs House following Hurricane Katrina. This project received a 2012 National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award.  Locally, Smith’s work is seen in renovation projects for historic homes such as North Main’s Parkwood House, Idlewood House, and Pettigru House.

“An architect’s responsibility is to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare,” said Smith. “The new program at The Fine Arts Center will introduce a younger generation to the dramatic impact architecture has on society.  We aim to engage, develop and empower these creative, analytical minds so they can improve our future-built environments.”

The Fine Arts Center will add one advanced course each year to include Architecture Design Studio II, Architecture Design Studio III, and Architecture Design Studio IV.  Students will learn to use AutoCAD and Sketch Up software. By their fourth year, students will be challenged to respond to social and cultural issues through design projects such as a residence for an elderly couple, one of which is confined to a wheelchair, and a halfway house for homeless families.

For more information, contact Dr. Roy Fluhrer, Director, The Fine Arts Center, 355-2551.

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