Message from Douglas Boughton, Director


NIU provides the pathway to career success in art and design.

For those who choose a career in the arts, life becomes joyful engagement in the pursuit of fascinating problems. If you are excited about a career in the arts but are uncertain about the vocational opportunities available, it is helpful to know that the arts industries provide work for almost 5 million people in the United States. One has only to look at the proliferation of art fairs, burgeoning growth in the number of art galleries, and the staggering growth of art advertising TV and film productions to name a few indicators. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts contribute around $764 billion annually to the U.S. economy which is 4.2% of the GDP. This provides arts workers with more work opportunities than agriculture, transportation or warehousing industries. The arts provide around $370 billion per year in income for its workers.

Studying art and design at NIU offers the best value in education for the money. Our mission is to prepare students from all walks of life for a future in any one of the diverse arts career opportunities available in our nation today. NIU is wonderfully equipped to prepare all students from all backgrounds to pursue their individual interests. NIU boasts incredibly talented and internationally recognized faculty who work at the cutting edge of their respective fields. Their work is supported by contemporary facilities and equipment, student workspaces, connections with industry for work experience, links with Chicago artists and designers, and active alumni.

NIU is a special place to learn. You will receive outstanding support through personalized individual advising, student counselling, scholarships, and a variety of other services. Active student organizations create a community of colleagues and learners that sustains active engagement throughout the years of study at NIU.

Our graduates can be found working all over the country in leading reputable companies such as Google, Pepsi, IBM, Levi Strauss and Disney to name a few. Our visual communications and illustration programs boast alumni working as graphic designers or illustrators in major centers such as Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Madison, Minneapolis, San Diego, Washington D.C., Portland, Kansas City and many others. Our program pathways include every conceivable option such as photography, painting, printmaking, drawing, ceramics, metals/jewelry, sculpture, time arts, art history and art and design education. We offer a graduate certificate (in museum education); bachelor's and master’s degrees in art, art history and art education; and a Ph.D. in art education.

If you are interested to explore a future with us as a student please contact Janelle O'Malley, recrutiment coordinator,

Douglas G Boughton, Ph.D.
Professor of Art and Education
Interim Director, School of Art and Design

Contact Us

Janelle O'Malley
Recruitment Coordinator

School of Art and Design
Jack Arends Building, Room 216
Fax: 815-753-7701

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