The Department of Art and Art History offers a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in Studio Art or Art History. The two emphases 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 Fine Arts 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. 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.
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. Digital Imaging is offered as an elective once every other year. 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 14 students per class, providing opportunities for close relationships between faculty and students. The studio faculty is exceptionally well qualified. All are exhibiting artists, showing their works in national and international competitive exhibitions and museum exhibitions, as well as in regional and local shows.
Art history majors develop skills to analyze artwork from a wide range of cultures. This includes the study of methodology for analyzing art in the context of a particular civilization. Written work culminates in the presentation of a major paper that demonstrates the student's ability to apply methods of research and analysis. Courses in art history cover the surveys of Western, Asian, and modern art history, with upper division (300-400 level) studies in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, 19th and 20th Century European and American Art, Mexican, and several areas of Asian art history. Sophomore level standing or consent of instructor is required for 300 level courses.