CLAYTON, Mo. – Fontbonne University students and faculty are raising concerns about the possibility of cuts being made to the school’s fine arts program.

Students in Fontbonne University’s Fine Arts Department are hoping to keep their program going. 

“We came to Fontbonne because it is the only university in the Midwest that offers this program. This type of education [is] very traditionalist. You are learning as old masters. The older techniques. Any other university in this area is very contemporary,” said M.V. Laughlin, graduate student.

Students said they picked Fontbonne for the Fine Arts program. Laughlin said last week faculty notified students about possible cuts to the fine arts department.

“With other degrees, like a business degree or math degree, you can learn from multiple people. When you’re getting your master’s in art, you’re learning from your mentors, who you’ve chosen,” said Abigail Platte, graduate student.

Amid uncertainty over the Fine Arts program, the university shared this statement with FOX 2:

“Fontbonne University is committed to prioritizing our fiscal health to provide the best experience for our students, staff and faculty. Like many institutions, Fontbonne is navigating shifting economic and financial circumstances. Because we value our faculty and staff, we included them in a series of meetings to discuss various proposals to strengthen Fontbonne’s financial Position and reduce expenses while retaining our ranking as a “best value” school and top regional university in the Midwest (according to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings). No final decisions have been made about Fine Arts at Fontbonne or any proposed changes.”

Students currently enrolled in the program say they want the opportunity to finish their degrees.

“It was the greatest artistic experience of my professional journey. Being with them highly raised my quality of work. I was recommended to transfer to Fontbonne by the head of the art Department at UMSL, a Fontbonne Alum themselves, to study master-level painting under Victor Wang,” said Dan Clark, senior United States Army veteran and 2022 Fontbonne graduate.

“As a recent Fine Arts graduate, I’m devastated to hear the news of possible plans to permanently shut down the fine arts department. The fine arts department not only helped provide me with career opportunities, but allowed me to grow and work through obstacles outside of my degree. The professors and students create a nurturing environment like no other, and losing this art department would be a major loss for local and national art. Fontbonne University would not be a liberal arts school without art,” said Michaela Mason.

Fontbonne says no final decisions have been made about the fine arts department or any proposed changes.