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 must take supporting courses in the other to ensure breadth and depth in their knowledge of art. Students may major in studio art and art history, minor in studio art and art history, or major in studio art or art history and minor in the other.
The specific education of artists and art historians, which includes technical skills, visual analysis, and research methodologies, is taught within 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 and 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. Approximately seven exhibitions are held each academic year in Kittredge Gallery, including a juried student show and the senior studio art thesis show in the spring semester.
Students who graduate from the Department of Art and Art History will be able to:
- Clearly articulate ideas in visual, verbal, and written form that reflect critical thinking and sustained engagement with the field.
- Successfully critique and discuss aesthetic experiences and apply training in visual literacy.
- Apply theories and methods of artistic creation and critical evaluation of sources to understand the social and historical context.
- Demonstrate the ability to independently create works in the plastic arts and/or complete significant research projects in the history of art.
- Through the study and creation of art, develop a nuanced understanding of self and a more sophisticated view of our world to participate as successful and mindful citizens.
Studio art students master distinct processes, an understanding of the principles of design, familiarity with art history, sensitivity to expression, and strong visual communication skills. They also cultivate the ability to synthesize formal and conceptual issues and understand how visual art relates to contemporary culture. The studio areas are well equipped for an institution of our size. Areas of concentration include painting, printmaking, and sculpture. In addition to instruction from the regular staff, several visiting artists are brought to the campus each year to lecture and work with students. Studio classes average 13 students per class, providing opportunities for close relationships between faculty members and students. Studio faculty members are all exhibiting artists, showing their national and international exhibitions and regional and local shows.
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 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 capstone paper that demonstrates the student’s ability to apply methods of research and analysis. Courses in art history cover Western and Asian art surveys, with upper-division (300–400 level) studies in ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, and 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 members present their research at national and international conferences and publish their scholarly journals and books.