Yes, UTSA has an arts building. It houses two of the smaller departments in the university: the art and music departments.

As both an art and music major, I have spent a majority of my time in the building. I thought I might give incoming freshmen some advice about both departments before the fall session starts.

Of the two departments, art tends to be larger. The art studios are generally open at all hours for those who like to work late at night. Two Mac labs in the building are used in the department’s New Media courses, which offer instruction in animation, digital photography and graphic design.

For those who are more interested in the fine arts, such as painting or drawing, there is ceramics building on campus as well as a collection of drawing and painting studios throughout the arts building.

Unfortunately, if you aren’t a declared art major you cannot take any classes that are specifically for those who are declared.

However, the art department does offer a selection of art classes across a variety of media which are open to everyone. These classes fill up quickly, though. There are very few seats per class, so freshmen may have to wait until spring semester before they get a chance to enroll.

The art history courses are open to everyone because they can satisfy a core curriculum requirement. There are more seats in these classes. If you are interested in majoring in art (bachelor’s in fine arts degree) then you should make sure to have declared before you sign up for classes. There is a large number of art studio requirements for the degree program.

The department handbook suggests you take at least two studio art classes a semester for the BFA program, for example.

The department of music is just a short stroll to the recital hall section of the arts building. With about 300 undergraduate and graduate music majors, the department is large enough to offer a complete curriculum with 11 major ensembles, numerous chamber ensembles and nearly 200 recitals, concerts, master classes and workshops per year. 

Almost all of the concerts at UTSA are free. Anyone can participate in one of the major department ensembles, regardless of their major. The requirement is a short audition at the beginning of the semester. Make sure to contact the director of the ensemble you would like to participate in.

For those who are majoring in music, the recital hall will be your home away from home.

Expect to spend hours in the practice room in order to obtain good grades.

For those who aren’t music majors, there are many classes in the department you can take: music history, ensemble, piano and guitar classes, for example. Private lessons are restricted to majors only. UTSA also offers a certificate in music technology for those interested in subjects like sound engineering and electronic music composition.

The arts at UTSA may seem small at first glance, but they offer a variety of extracurricular courses and activities for non-majors. So, sign up for a class or at least come to one of the many events and exhibitions.

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