Department of Art and Art History

The Department of Art and Art History explores the wonder and complexity of visual art in theory and practice. Studio art students specialize in painting, printmaking, ceramics, or sculpture learning a wide range of techniques and processes in specialized studio spaces. Art history students study diverse artistic traditions and develop strong analytical, research, presentation, and writing skills.


The safety and well-being of our campus community is our top priority. As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop in our region, we have updated our plans for the fall semester as we work to ensure the ability of our students to continue their education. Please check your campus email often for updates. More information is available at

Please note: Kittredge Gallery is closed for the fall semester; all classes are remote; and students are doing projects from home due to COVID-19.


The Department of Art and Art History is pleased to feature Sama Alshaibi, Professor of Photography, Video, and Imaging at the University of Arizona in Tucson in a two-part Living Art residency. The Living Art program provides our students, staff, faculty, and the Tacoma community with deep exposure to the art world today through opportunities to learn from and develop professional relationships with nationally and internationally renowned artists, art critics, and curators of modern and contemporary art.

Sama is a Palestinian-Iraqi who was born in Basra, Iraq. Her photographs, videos and immersive installations examine the mechanisms of fragmentation in the aftermath of war and exile. They often feature a female figure that references a complex site of struggle and identification, and confront an image history of photographs and moving images through a feminist perspective. 

Recent exhibitions include the State of The Art 2020, Crystal Bridges (Arkansas), 13th Cairo International Biennale (Egypt, 2019), and solo exhibitions at Ayyam Gallery (Dubai, 2019) and Artpace (San Antonio, 2019). Her monograph, Sama Alshaibi: Sand Rushes In was published by Aperture, NYC. Alshaibi’s twenty-one solo exhibitions and over 150 group exhibitions include the 55th Venice Biennale, American University Museum (Washington D.C., 2018), Marta Herford Museum (Germany, 2017), Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Headlands Center for the Arts (San Francisco), and Bronx Museum (NYC).

This fall [2020], Sama conducted remote workshops tailored to enhance the content of four classes. In the fall of 2021, she will have an exhibition at the Kittredge and will participate in a multi-day residency on campus.


Ian Chandler '18 (Sculpture) is an MFA candidate at UW Madison. Check out his most recent exhibit of work here.

Art & Art History Recipients of the 2020 Summer Research Awards in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences:
Chlöe Brew
Paradigms of Feminine Power: The Piraeus Athena and Aphrodite of Knidos, Advisors: Kriszta Kotsis and Brett Rogers
Catherine CroftAnimated Neuroscience Pilot for Kids, Advisors: Nathan Clark and Elise Richman
Madeleine GolitzIllustrating Neuroaesthetics, Advisor: Janet Marcavage
Julia SchiffMaterialized Narratives: An Exploration of Printmaking Techniques, Advisor: Janet Marcavage
*presentations will be posted soon

Ayse Hunt '19 (Art History) began a joint PhD in Computer Science and Learning Science at Northwestern University in Fall 2020.

Katy Cowan '04 (Sculpture) showing new Outdoor Sculpture work with Philip Martin Gallery

Erin Wheary '13 (Sculpture/Printmaking) recently held an Artist Residency at Chateau Orquevaux, France. 
Erin also accepted one-year Visiting Assistant Professor position at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.  

Michael Fortenberry '20 (Sculpture) was a finalist in the Season 15 Manifest Grand Jury Prize.
Ribbon (wood), 48” x 48” x 84”, 2018


Professor Elise Richman has been chosen to deliver the 47th Regester Lecture. More info here.

Professor of Art History Linda Williams received the Dirk Phibbs Memorial Award for 2020-21 for her research project Maya Christian Murals of Yucatán: Indigenous Catholicism in Early Modern New Spain. I think that most of you are aware that she also has an NEH grant for this project in collaboration with Amara Solari at Pennsylvania State University.

Visiting Associate Professor Rachel Silberstein recently published a new book A Fashionable Century Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing (University of Washington Press, 2020). There is also a video as part of a virtual event on new books in east Asian art history.

New work by Janet Marcavage was included in Artists Under Quarantine at Augen Gallery, August 2020. 

TURN, 2020 screen print, 26 1/2" x 22 1/4", Edition of 10