Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) – Visual Arts

Do you enjoy drawing, painting, photography, or sculpting? Do you like learning about the history of art? If you answered yes to these questions, maybe a degree in Visual Arts is right for you.

The Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts focuses on creativity and technical skills while providing a foundation in past and present art movements and artists. We offer studio classes in drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and printmaking where students learn the technical skills involved with each medium. The AFA in Visual Arts provides a foundation for professional practice in the art world through the studio experience, building a portfolio, exhibition opportunities, and conceptual development. If you decide to continue your studies at a four-year college, you will be prepared to do so because your classes will transfer to all of the UNC colleges and universities, as well as many private schools.

Credentialing Options

Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to follow the general enrollment process for GTCC. During the advising process, you will have the opportunity to indicate your desire to study within this curriculum. Your advisor will help you sign up for the specific courses you need.


Patricia (Tricia) Drummond, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts

Contact information:

Gerald Hall, 206  
336-334-4822, ext. 50481 


  • Master of Fine Arts at James Madison University, specialization in photography, 2015 
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts at Converse College, specialization in photography, minor in art history, 2012  
  • Associate of Arts at Owens Community College, specialization in photography, 2009  

Interests: Alternative photography, history of photography, artist books, bookbinding, and mixed media

William (Gaines) Bailey,  Assistant Professor of Visual Arts

Contact information:

Gerald Hall, 211  
336-334-4822, ext. 50570  


  • Master of Fine Arts at East Carolina University, Specialization in Ceramics, 2015  
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts at Winthrop University, Specialization in Ceramics, 2009

Interests: Sculpture, ceramics, mixed-media, printmaking

Douglas Cason,  Instructor of Visual Arts

Contact information:

Gerald Hall, 218  
336-334-4822, ext. 50066  


  • Master of Fine Art at University of Houston, specialization in painting, 2006  
  • Bachelor of Fine Art at University of Texas at Austin, specialization in painting, 1995

Interests: Painting, bookbinding, street art

John Thomas  Bissonette, Instructor of Visual Art 

Contact information:

Gerald Hall, 216 
336-334-4822, ext. 50751  


  • Master of Fine Arts at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, specialization in painting and drawing, 2006
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts at Columbus College of Art, specialization in painting and printmaking, 2003

Interests: Painting, drawing, installation, mixed-media

Deanna Watson, Instructor of Visual Arts

Contact information: 

Gerrald Hall, 218
336-334-4822, ext. 50139


  • Master of Fine Arts at Wayne State University, specialization in drawing, 2000
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of North Carolina at Asheville, specialization in drawing, 1997

Interests: Photorealism, portraiture, printmaking, professional practices for artists

Yes. Financial aid is available if you qualify. Please visit our Financial Aid web page or call the Financial Aid office at 336-334-4822, option 3.

In each studio art class, some materials will be provided for you, and you will be required to buy the remainder for yourself. Each professor will provide a required supply list at the beginning of the semester.

You will develop a portfolio and earn credits for Bachelor of Arts degrees related to the arts. The Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) program also qualifies you to apply for any major that a general associate degree will give you.

  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art History
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art Therapy
  • Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art (concentration in painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and ceramics)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media and Design

2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing 1 are all required courses. Additional studio electives are offered in photography, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. This is an expanding program, and additional studio opportunities may be available soon.  

We also offer classes in art history, including Art Appreciation, Art History Survey 1, and Art History Survey II.

Students will learn many useful skills in starting a career in the arts with the AFA degree.  However, it is recommended that students transfer to a university to complete a Bachelor’s degree.  A Bachelor’s Degree in Art, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Art Education, or Art History will prepare students for one or more of the following careers.

  • Fine Arts and Crafts: Illustration, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, painting, photography, jewelry making, metalsmithing, book arts, glass, fibers, woodworking
  • Design and Commercial Arts: Architecture, jewelry, fashion/clothing, gaming (virtual environments, character development), graphics (print publication, logos, web design, user interface design, package design, motion graphic, animation, infographics, products, textiles, furniture, exhibit design, set design, commercial photography, documentary photography
  • Arts Education: Pre-K, K-12, higher education, community-based education, lifelong learning, extra-curricular education
  • Arts History and Arts Management: Nonprofit and for-profit galleries and museums, nonprofit development, art therapy, academic research, teaching

Yes. Art Appreciation (ART 111) and Art History (ART 114 and ART 115) can be taken to satisfy up to nine credit hours in the Humanities and Fine Arts. The art history courses do not need to be taken sequentially.

Any of the studio art classes can be taken as electives for students who are interested in learning introductory skills. Some of these studio courses have prerequisites. Always ask your advisor, when enrolling for courses, about transferability and financial aid.