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Johnson State Adds Fine Woodworking to Arts Offerings


Johnson State Offers New Degree in Fine Woodworking & Furniture Design

Collaboration with the Vermont Woodworking School results in new major in Woodworking & Fine Furniture Design

April 19, 2017

Starting in fall 2017, Johnson State College will offer an A.A. and a B.F.A. degree in Woodworking and Fine Furniture Design in collaboration with the Vermont Woodworking School (VWS), located in Fairfax, Vermont. The woodworking degree track is unique in Vermont and one of only a few in the nation.

The partnership will allow students to pursue a bachelor’s of fine arts degree by taking general education and foundational art classes on the Johnson campus while learning fundamental and advanced woodworking and furniture-making skills and techniques in the 15,000-square-foot barn that houses VWS. Students who complete the degree requirements will graduate with a B.F.A. in Woodworking and Fine Furniture Design from Johnson State. A two-year associate’s degree track will also be available.

Professor Ken Leslie, chair of the JSC Fine Arts Department and program manager for the Johnson State/VWS partnership, describes the collaboration as an exciting development for both schools. “Vermont Woodworking School was looking for an accredited partner to allow them to offer woodworking students the A.A. and B.F.A. degree options, and Johnson State, with our longstanding connections to the arts in Vermont, determined woodworking would be a good fit for us. And the students from VWS are terrific!”

B.F.A. student Kevin Deraps, a retired military veteran who lives in Fairfax, VT, is similarly enthusiastic about the new partnership. Deraps, who specializes in building Shaker-style furniture, says of returning to college after being in the military for 25 years: “It’s been an amazing challenge. That’s why I like it. It’s a whole different part of my brain being used. I went from the primal survival instinct of staying alive to learning everything else that’s out there. There’s so much to learn. I don’t see it ever stopping.”

Students can learn more and apply and enroll in the B.F.A. or A.A. in Fine Woodworking & Furniture Design program for fall 2017 now at