Welcome to the Beta version of CCC&TI's new website! Let us know if you have questions--we're here for you.

Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts

This program is designed to develop a strong portfolio, ensuring that students have the academic foundations needed to continue their academic growth in the discipline of visual arts

At a Glance

According to the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts, the arts and culture industry creates about 5.7 million full-time jobs every year, nationwide!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists many occupations for Craft and Fine Artists. The Job Duties, Education Required and the Median Pay varies greatly depending on the occupation.

To learn more information about employment outlook and work environment in the AFA Visual Arts field, visit CCC&TI’s Career Coach site for the following program:

Careers for graduates with a Visual Arts Degree include:

Studio Artist:

  • Cartoonists
  • Ceramicists
  • Cinematographer
  • Illustrators
  • Muralist
  • Painters
  • Photographers
  • Printmakers
  • Sculptors
  • other areas of discipline

Education – Teaching privately, or in Middle Schools, High Schools, Private Schools, or College and University Fine Arts Programs.

Visual Communication and Graphic Design – Including many opportunities in Film, Print, Graphic Design and Web Based Design.

Commercial / Design Fields

  • Costume Design
  • Fashion Coordinator
  • Furniture Design
  • Interior Decoration
  • Interior Design
  • Jewelry Design
  • Marketing and Merchandising
  • Photography
  • Print
  • Product Design
  • Stage or Set Design
  • Textile Design
  • other areas in the Design field

I'm Ready to Apply

I'd Like to Learn More

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute offers an Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) in Visual Arts. The 60 semester hour program prepares students for successful transfer into most four year institutions. This program is designed to develop a strong portfolio, ensuring that students have the academic foundations needed to continue their academic growth in the discipline of visual arts. The AFA, Visual Arts, is also appropriate for students who want additional training in fine arts to enhance their career or life.

Admission Requirements

  • CCC&TI application
  • High school transcript(s) or high school equivalency
  • College transcript(s) if applicable
  • CCC&TI placement tests
  • Interview with admission counselor


Costs at North Carolina community colleges are traditionally the best educational value available for college transfer, technical, and vocational students. For current tuition and fees at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, visit our Tuition & Fees webpage or contact the Student Services Office at 828.726.2200.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to qualified students through grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time employment in the college work-study program. For more information, visit our Financial Aid page.


Meet the Instructors

History of the CCC&TI AFA Visual Arts program

The Associates of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts was first available in the academic year 1999-2000, and Jean Cauthen was the first director of the program. In 2002, a full-time art position was added and based on the Watauga campus. After Jean Cauthen’s retirement and relocation in 2007, Jane Harrison became Director of Visual Arts. In 2013, Jane Harrison retired leaving the Director’s position open for two semesters. In the Fall of 2014, Tom Thielemann became the Director of Visual Arts. Currently, there are two full-time art instructors: Tom Thielemann and Laura Aultman. This program depends greatly on the availability of part-time instructors, some who have been associated with our program from the beginning and who have special expertise in distinct areas.

In the summer of 2014, the Fine Arts program moved from S Building to D Building. This move allowed for a better, more designated space for each discipline. The building offers rooms for Printmaking / Design, Painting / Drawing, Ceramics, Sculpture, and an exhibition space. The Jo Seila Gallery was opened in May of 2002. The designated gallery space is now located in D Building on the Caldwell campus, and features exhibitions of student, faculty and regional artists’ work. Display systems were installed on the Watauga campus in the WOTF Building, and in the LRC on the Hudson campus, allowing the program to showcase work from Branches, CCC&TI’s literary and fine arts magazine.

Available studio course options have expanded in recent years and we now regularly offer Design I 2-D and Design II 3D, Drawing I and II, Computer Art I and II, Printmaking I and II, Painting I and II, Digital Photography I and II, Sculpture I, Ceramics I and II, Art history I and II, and Art Appreciation. These courses are used to fulfill the requirement of 21 hours of professional program studio electives. To maximize the effectiveness of our full time instructors, they are now scheduled to teach on both campuses.

Mission Statement:

The Fine Arts program’s mission is to provide students with general education requirements and skills needed to earn the Associate of Fine Arts degree, to prepare for junior entry into a Bachelor of Fine Arts program, and provide life enrichment and personal skills in the fine arts field. The intent of the program is to help students gain the skills, vocabulary, and a portfolio needed to successfully transfer and thrive in a Bachelor of Fine Arts program as well as provide skills in the field of fine arts.