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FSU’s College of Fine Arts celebrates year of anniversaries

Published October 6, 2023
People in costume perform on a stage in this vintage 50s photo.

1954 performance of “Chanticleer” by School of Theatre students. (FSU Special Collections & Archives)

an antique FSU seal

n 1909, “Agnes Granberry, an art student and member of the class of 1912 designed the new seal. It consisted of 3 torches with the words: Vires. Artes. Mores.(Strength. Skill. Customs.) on a banner and signified the mission of the college to educate students physically, mentally, and morally: to create Femina Perfecta, the Completed Woman.” Robin Sellers, Femina Perfecta. (Image courtesy of “FSU Voices”)

Florida State University’s College of Fine Arts and several of its departments are observing special anniversaries this academic year, and students, alumni and friends are invited to join the celebration at several upcoming events.

The performing and visual arts have been interwoven into FSU since 1886, when art was introduced as a foundational course for most areas of study. Art became a department in 1906, the first theatre production was staged in 1915, and dance classes began in 1933.

“This academic year, we celebrate several milestones in the arts at FSU, all of which symbolize the legitimization and professionalization of our fields,” said James Frazier, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “This is an opportunity to look back on where we’ve been, where we are today and where we’d like to be in the future. It is also an exciting opportunity to engage with so many people who have helped define the college over the years.”

In 1973, the School of Visual Arts and the School of Theatre were formed from existing components in arts and sciences and education, among others. In 1989, the Department of Dance joined the school and changed its name to the School of Visual Arts and Dance. In 2008, the two schools united to form the College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance, and in 2015, the school became the College of Fine Arts.

Today, the College of Fine Arts houses the departments of ArtArt EducationArt HistoryInterior Architecture and Design and schools of Dance and Theatre.

“FSU’s deep history as an institution where the humanities and arts have figured prominently from the beginning is embodied and is on wonderful display in our various programs,” Frazier said.


The School of Dance celebrates 90 years of dance classes at FSU and 60 years of dance degrees. This year also marks 20 years since the founding of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, the first national center for choreography established and residing in a U.S. major Research 1 institution.

people gather in a gallery admiring photos of dancers

The School of Dance Celebrates 90 years of dance classes at FSU this year. In July, it kicked off its 90/60/20 celebration with an exhibition “Do it with Love” in the William Johnston Building Gallery.


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12

Alumna-founded company Adele Myers & Dancers takes the stage with a foot-stomping, heart-pounding new work at the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre. The production is part of the Opening Nights at FSU season and will include a talkback and dessert reception for special ticket holders. Visit for tickets to this limited engagement.


School of Dance Alumni Week

Nov. 1-5

This week will include dance master classes for students with accomplished alumni and retired faculty. Alumni will take the stage on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 4 to share their choreography and dance films.

Evening of Dance

Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4

The School of Dance Alumni Week concludes with two Evening of Dance performances. Original works by lauded faculty – including Lynda Davis, Suzanne Farrell, Gerry Houlihan, Anthony Morgan, Nancy Smith Fichter and Dan Wagoner – have been restaged and set on a new generation of dancers.




The School of Theatre, established in 1973, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a season of performances including “9 to 5: The Musical,” featuring a new score with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. The show opens Friday, Oct. 13 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 22. The season continues at the school’s Lab Theatre, a unique black box space on Copeland Street across from the Turnbull Conference Center, with “Imogen Says Nothing.”

The season concludes in April with student-produced showings in a Fringe Festival at the Fine Arts Building and the Senior Showcase Fundraiser, when acting and music theater seniors preview their audition performances for guests. The event raises money to support the filmed showcase and live performance in New York City in May.

The school’s graduate acting program also celebrates 50 years as the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. The program was the start of a long history of FSU Arts in Sarasota, which includes graduate programs in art history and art education and the operation of the Ringling Museum and FSU Center for the Performing Arts.

The Conservatory will bring back alumni and local professionals to act alongside students in their 50th Anniversary Season, which kicks off with the Anton Chekov classic “Three Sisters” on Friday, Oct. 27. Sarasota residents and visitors to the Culture Coast can purchase tickets at



The Departments of Art, Art Education, Art History and Interior Architecture & Design will celebrate the golden anniversary throughout the year with guest lectures and engagements.

Construction was completed on the Fine Arts Building in 1971 and the Department of Art and School of Theatre moved in. Gallery space was also incorporated which created space for students and visiting artists to curate and exhibit work. (Anna Prentiss)

Alumni Week

Feb. 28 – March 2

Alumni and friends are invited back to campus for tours, studio visits and more, culminating in two signature events.

The cover of the first issue of “Anthanor,” an internationally distributed periodical of graduate student papers published by the Department of Art History and the Museum of Fine Arts. The Department of Art History celebrates the publication’s 40th anniversary this year.

Department of Interior Architecture and Design Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, March 2

Join us as FSU honors alumni who graduated in the first years of the program, retired and late faculty, the 2024 Alumni Award winners and more. The Department’s 7th Annual Career Fair for students will take place Friday, March 1, before the event.

Department of Art History’s 40th Annual Graduate Symposium

Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2

The symposium is hosted by the Department of Art History and is organized by graduate students from around the country. Students are invited to share their research and network with faculty and future colleagues. The keynote speaker is Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett professor of art and art history at Duke University and a leading scholar of African American art and culture.

FSU Museum of Fine Arts will host “50 Years of Collecting,” an exhibit from its permanent collection celebrating five decades of artwork for the enrichment of the University and Big Bend community. The show will highlight works by former faculty and alumni, as well as works donated by generous supporters of the museum. The exhibit will open in January and will remain open through the spring semester.

For more information, visit