Department of Art and Art History


Professor Janet Marcavage and Puget Sound Printmaking students are leading a free printmaking workshop on Nov. 19th ( Third Thursday) from 5:30-7:30 at the Tacoma Art Museum, in conjunction with the Art AIDS America Exhibition. 

Molly Agan, Katharine Etsell, Jess Evans, Leanne Gan, Ally Hembree, Matt Hufford, Elizabeth King, Shannon Leahy, Gabriel Lennon, and Hailey Shoemaker have designed and carved a series of woodblocks that reflect on the HIV virus and its effects on individuals and communities. Those who attend will get to pull a print and take it with them. The drop-in workshop at TAM is on Nov. 19th from 5:30-7:30 and is free and open to the public. 


  • Art and Art History Summer research grants recipients are:

Maia Raeder ’16 Landscape Painting and Ideas of Wilderness

Carly Brock ’16 Landscape Painting: A comprehensive study of en plein air and studio painting

Sarah McDonald ’16 Inclusion or Assimilation: How Museums Colonize the Art World

Madeline Langford  ’17 Female Portraiture: Exploring Iconography of the Female Divine Archetype in Greco-Roman, Ancient Egyptian, and Ethiopian Christian Traditions

  • Carly Brock '16,  Painting, received the 2015 LOCAL 14 scholarship.
  • Bianca Jarvis '15, Printmaking, is an MFA candidate at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), ‘14

  • Jonathan Steele '14, Ceramics, is an MFA candidate at Oregon College of Art and Design, ‘13.

  • Haley Andres '14, Painting, was a 2014-15 Watson Fellow.  Her project, Art as Therapy:  A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Art-Based Trauma Recovery brought her to six  countries on four continents. ‘13

  • Alex Keyes ’10, Sculpture, is now the Resident Artist at the University of Texas El Paso.

  • Professor Elise Richman, Painting, published the paper "The Ethics of Painting:  Affect, Aesthetics, and Agency"

About the Department

The Department of Art and Art History offers two Bachelor of Arts degrees: Studio Art and Art History. The two majors are distinct, but students in each area are required to take supporting courses in the other to ensure breadth and depth in their knowledge of art. The specific education of artists and of art historians, which includes technical skills, visual analysis, and research methodologies, are taught within the context of our liberal arts institution. The department values providing a strong liberal arts education and writing and critical thinking skills are emphasized in all art courses. Department of Art and Art History courses serve majors as well as students who are enrolled in the Artistic Approaches core. Careful attention is given to meet the needs of students from diverse majors and programs. The Department of Art and Art History occupies three buildings with Kittredge Hall and its gallery as the nucleus. Studio art courses are also taught in the Ceramics Building and the Sculpture House. Approximately eight exhibitions are held each academic year in the Kittredge Gallery, including a juried student show in the fall semester and the senior studio art majors show in the spring semester.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from the Department of Art and Art History will be able to:

  1. Clearly articulate ideas in visual, verbal, and written form that reflect critical thinking and sustained engagement with the field.
  2. Successfully critique and discuss aesthetic experiences and apply training in visual literacy.
  3. Apply theories and methods of artistic creation and critical evaluation of sources with an understanding of social and historical context.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to independently create works in the plastic arts and/or complete significant research projects in the history of art.
  5. Through the study and creation of art, develop a nuanced understanding of self and a more sophisticated view of our world in order to participate as successful and mindful citizens.

Studio Art

Studio art students master distinct processes, an understanding of the principles of design, a familiarity with art history, and sensitivity to expression in visual language. They also form the ability to synthesize formal and conceptual issues and develop an understanding of how visual art relates to contemporary culture. The studio areas are well equipped for an institution of our size. Areas of concentration include ceramics, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. In addition to instruction from the regular staff, a number of visiting artists are brought to the campus each year to lecture and work with students. Studio classes average 15 students per class, providing opportunities for close relationships between faculty and students. The studio faculty are all exhibiting artists, showing their works in national and international competitive exhibitions and museum exhibitions, as well as in regional and local shows.

Art History

Art history majors develop an understanding of the trajectory of multiple art historical periods and cultivate skills in analyzing artworks from a wide range of cultures and from various methodological approaches. Students are also introduced to the historiography of the discipline and fundamental methods of analyzing art. Written work culminates in the presentation of a thesis that demonstrates the student’s ability to apply methods of research and analysis. Courses in art history cover the surveys of Western and Asian with  upper division (300-400 level) studies in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, 19th and 20th Century European and American Art, Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese art, and Asian calligraphy. Sophomore level standing or consent of instructor is required for 300 level courses.  The art history faculty present their research at national and international conferences and publish their work in scholarly journals and books.