JACKSON - Belhaven University is one of only 33 institutions in the nation accredited in all four areas of the arts - visual art, music, theater, and dance. Belhaven, a university of 3,000 students, is competing at the highest level in the arts with some of the largest schools in the nation such as Florida State University, The Ohio State University, The University of Alabama and Brigham Young University.
We are among an elite group of the best universities in America in the arts, said Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott. We want our students to become shapers of culture and get a higher level of instruction in the arts. It is a priority to prepare our students from a foundation of Christian faith so that they can use their gifts to honor God through their careers as professional artists.
Among the 33 institutions, Belhaven is the second smallest university with a comprehensive arts and sciences program and has the second lowest tuition among private schools on the list. Belhaven is also the only member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities to carry such a distinction.
Belhaven's Visual Arts Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and gives students more than just a degree in visual art. Belhaven's Bachelor of Arts in Art program stands out in the sea of art and design colleges, said Bob Pennebaker, Associate Professor of Art & Chair of the Art Department. We seek to instill in students the creative vision, intellectual rigor, technical skill, aesthetic insight, spiritual discernment, and work ethic necessary for the practice of visual art. One visual art graduate, Andrew Camenisch, is a result of the department's vision and is known for his work as a lead sculptor for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) accredits Belhaven's Dance Department. The top-notch dance program at Belhaven is one of the more popular and sought-after degrees. Dancers from around the country audition to be accepted into the program. Dancers can earn a Master of Fine Arts in Dance, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, or a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Belhaven dance graduates have gone on to teach, perform and choreograph with dance companies and repertory theatres across the country and start their own companies and studios.
Belhaven University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music and several degree concentrations, as well as a Bachelor of Music Education in instrumental music.
The focus of Belhaven's music faculty is to produce leaders in the musical arts who will have influence in private studios, educational institutions, churches, and on the concert stage.
Belhaven has a rich history and close ties with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (MSO). The MSO originated on the Belhaven campus in 1945 and many students and faculty are current members.
Belhaven's Theatre Department, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with emphases in acting, production/design, musical theatre, theatre ministries, theatre history and literature, and dramatic writing. Students receive a wealth of knowledge and experience through courses in theatre history, acting, directing, stagecraft, and on-campus productions.
Many Belhaven students who graduate with an arts degree go on to work and perform with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Opera Association, New Stage Theatre, Ballet Magnificat, and Ballet Mississippi.