Chair, Division of Fine Arts, Associate Professor of Art

Ms. Adrienne R. Schwarte

Associate Professor of Design
& Coordinator of Sustainability Studies Minor

 I currently serve as an Associate Professor of Design, Chair of the Division of Fine Arts and Coordinator of the Sustainability Studies Minor at Maryville College. I completed my M.F.A. in Multimedia Design with an emphasis in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, MN) and a B.A. in Communication and Art from Buena Vista University (Storm Lake, IA) and hold a Professional Certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership from the Institute for Global Sustainability from the University of Vermont (Burlington, VT). I've worked as a graphic designer, photographer and communications assistant for over eighteen years for companies and organizations such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (Rochester, Minnesota), the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (Des Moines, Iowa), KTTC-TV (NBC affiliate, Rochester, Minnesota), ByDesign Studio (Twin Cities, Minnesota) and the NHL Dallas Stars Hockey Team (Dallas, TX). I've also provided design and consulting for organizations such as Parsons Public Relations (Seattle, WA), In Defense of Animals-Africa (IDA-Africa) (Portland, OR), The North Carolina Association of Rehabilitation Professionals (Winston-Salem/Triad, NC) Showing up for Racial Justice, Cornerstone Analytical Laboratories, Foothills Land Conservancy (Knoxville, TN) and Plaza Property Services (Jacksonville, FL) among others.

I present regularly at conferences including the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Design Educator's Conference, the Foundations in Art Theory & Education (FATE) Biennial Conferences, the Design History Society Annual Conference, the Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Annual Conferences (AASHE), the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) and the National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment (NCSE).


Much of my creative production is a split between client-based work in graphic design and traditional and digital photography, which explores the themes of visual polarization, geotourism and sustainability principles, including international/transformational experiences. As a designer, I am constantly immersed in the gate keeping and agenda-setting that comes from working in front of a computer screen or behind a lens and find that all design and all photography have a social context and social bias based on the artist’s intentions, which is ever present in my mind when I work. My work investigates the interaction of the natural landscape with the built environment, be that relationship harmonious or filled with strife. It parallels my own journey to understand the designer’s role in impacting the natural landscape, which has been both extremely positive and detrimentally negative historically. When content is situated at polar ends of the spectrum stark contrasts in form can exist, but their proximity exhibits commonalities that are not fully understood when they are apart. It is the dichotomy between the two ends of the spectrum that I find most stimulating and emotionally arresting.

To see my portfolio, research projects and download a copy of my CV, please visit my website at

Current Courses Taught:

ART 102: Introduction to 2-Dimensional Design
ART 123, 223, 323: Design I, II, III
ART 231: Introduction to Typography
ART 317: History of Graphic Design
ART 337: Internship in Design
ART 351/352: Senior Thesis in Design
ART 349: Introduction to Digital Photography
ART 200: Sustainable Art Processes
ART 140: Perspectives in Art
ENV/SUS 101: Introduction to Environmental Issues & Sustainability
SUS 337: Internship in Sustainability Studies
SUS 401: E-Portfolio in Sustainability Studies
SUS 249: In Search of Hygge Through Design and Sustainability in Scandinavia (Travel-Study Course in Denmark and Sweden)

Past Courses Taught:
ORN 110: Perspectives on the College
FRS 120: Perspectives on the Individual
FRS 130: Perspectives on the Environment
ENV 200: Ecotourism, Arts and Culture, Costa Rica (Travel Study Course in Costa Rica)
SRS 480: Designing a Sustainable Future: Think Globally, Act Locally