Vision Statement

We of Save Watkins seek to restore Samuel Watkins’s vision of making education available and affordable to all. 

We of Save Watkins are members of a unique and historic institution with a rich and storied past dating back to 1885. The principal goal of Watkins’s founder was to make a premier education accessible to all in order to "acquire information on such subjects as will be beneficial for the business of life."  And for 135 years now, its primary directive has been serving Nashville by educating its citizens in that 'business of life.' Although the general purpose of the Institute was established in Samuel Watkins' will as "the diffusion of knowledge among the people," commissioners were given "a large discretion...as to the subjects to be treated." Since the early 1990s, the institution has focused on the visual arts with the belief that no other academic discipline can distill the voices of the people more powerfully than one devoted to free creative expression.

We of Save Watkins are a community that stands firmly with its tradition. We stand for Watkins as the only independent and accredited art school in the state of Tennessee, and we support its mission of fostering an environment of free and open inquiry in Nashville and beyond.  

Students of Watkins use the knowledge, confidence, and skills they acquire at the school to become effective and proficient in the business of their own lives as artists and professionals. So many of our graduates leave with a deep commitment to artistic freedom and civic engagement, and through these values, they enrich the lives of others and their communities. 

Students of Watkins leave prepared to bring meaningful change to the world of art, photography, film, and design. 

We of Save Watkins believe that this mission and its 135-year legacy in Nashville is too important to abandon, and if the school is truly going to fulfill this mission, it must remain independent.

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