School of Visual Studies

Two years ago, the College of Arts and Science at Mizzou had a big announcement to make: the creation of the School of Visual Studies. This comprehensive and innovative approach to arts education brought together the departments of art, art history, digital storytelling, and film studies.

The school’s founding director, Professor Jo Stealey, made another announcement during her retirement party. She gave a retirement gift to the school: $550,000. The gift establishes two new programs, the Director’s Fund for Excellence and the Stealey School of Visual Studies Merit Scholarship. The Director’s Fund provides support to the areas of greatest need, including program support, faculty development, research support, professional development, materials, staff support, salary stipends, and travel. The Stealey scholarship will provide one or more annual awards to outstanding undergraduate or graduate students with a focus within the School of Visual Studies.

Knowing she wanted to become an artist from a very young age, Stealey began her A&S career as a student, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Missouri in 1972. She then joined the College of Arts and Science faculty in 1992 and completed her doctorate in art education in 1993.

Basketry, papermaking, and other fiber arts have been her life’s work. She has exhibited her pieces in galleries across the country, and was chosen to add a piece to the collection of the Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library in 2014.

Beyond her artwork, Stealey’s contributions to scholarship in writing, as well as lectures and workshops around the world, are all pieces of her legacy at Mizzou. Her most recent gift adds to that rich legacy, and will carry forward her influence for generations to come. 

If you would like to make a gift to honor Stealey in her retirement, visit: