Associate Professor of Art

Ms. Adrienne R. Schwarte

Associate Professor of Design
& Coordinator of Sustainability Studies Minor

Adrienne Schwarte is currently an Associate Professor of Design and Coordinator of the Sustainability Studies Minor at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. She received her M.F.A. in Multimedia Design with an emphasis in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Schwarte has worked as a professional graphic designer and photographer for fifteen years in both the corporate and freelance market. She has worked for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, KTTC-TV (NBC affiliate), ByDesign Studio at the University of Minnesota and freelanced for Parsons Public Relations, The Little River Watershed Association, Axios Law Group, In Defense of Animals-Africa (IDA-Africa), Mountain Challenge, Mane Support, Maryville College and others.

Schwarte’s creative production and research interests are focused on social activism and environmental sustainability within graphic design, graphic design practices towards climate change mitigation within environmental organizations, geotourism principles and experiential travel-study abroad and non-for-profit design. She has presented at the Foundations in Art Theory and Education (FATE) Biennial Conferences, Design History Society Annual Conference, Fourth International Conference on Climate Change, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment, American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Greening the Campus Conference, Lilly Conference on College & University Teaching, and Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC). She holds a Professional Certificate in Campus Sustainability Leadership from the Institute for Global Sustainability, University of Vermont and has professional training in conducting energy audits (TVA) and working with wind technology (University of Scranton, Energypath). Schwarte has been published in FATE In Review, the International Library of Photography, Sustainability, The Journal of Record, and has a chapter on experiential study abroad, art and sustainability in Costa Rica in World Trends on Education for Sustainable Development, by W. L. Filho (2011). To see a complete list of professional research and creative production, please review her CV.

Schwarte currently serves as Art Director for the Maryville College Design Lab (MCDL), as the MC Faculty Representative for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Research Administrator for MC.


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.

Download a copy of CV.

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
FNA 140: Introduction to the Fine Arts: Art
ENV/SUS 101: Introduction to Environmental Issues & Sustainability
SUS 337: Internship in Sustainability Studies
SUS 401: E-Portfolio in Sustainability Studies

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 in Costa Rica
SRS 480: Designing a Sustainable Future: Think Globally, Act Locally