• Tyler Starr art class outside

    The Art Department's goal is to encourage creative approaches to learning in all disciplines as part of the broader liberal arts curriculum.

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  • Art student at table

    The Art Department provides students with challenging opportunities for aesthetic growth and personal intellectual development.

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  • Bronze Foundry

    The 6,500 square-foot sculpture area enables students to work in wood, clay, plaster, metal, and features an outdoor bronze foundry.

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Art Major

The Art Department is designed around two principal areas: creative practice and critical studies.

Students can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in either art history or studio art, and the two disciplines are closely entwined. Our goal is to encourage creative approaches to learning in all disciplines as part of the broader liberal arts curriculum.

Whether you pursue an art history or studio art emphasis, 11 courses must be taken as defined below.

Art History Emphasis

Requirements for an emphasis in Art History are nine courses in art history—including Art 100, and in the senior year Art 400 and Art 402—and two courses in studio art below the 300 level.

Art history courses begin with a general survey of Western art. Subsequent courses cover art and architecture from the classical period to the present as well as the theory of art. Courses on Eastern art, taught by the director of South Asian Studies, and on Greek and Roman art, taught by the Classics Department, count toward the major.

The Visual Resources Curator and VRC student assistants make the images covered in each class available for study through the online Image Review (visitor authentication required).

The Art Department tries to engage its students in "doing" art history both in and outside the classroom. They are encouraged to travel to exhibitions and apply for internships in local museums and galleries. Each spring a student is selected to offer a paper at the Collegiate Art History Symposium at the Mint Museum in Charlotte. Most art history majors also study abroad during their junior year.

Senior art history majors enroll in a capstone seminar offered on a subject of interest to our art historians. Recent offerings have included visual traditions of the South, the notion of creativity, the Gothic cathedral, Orientalism in French painting, Spanish art, the art of Edouard Manet, and the art of Gustave Courbet.

The highlight of each seminar is a trip to visit museums, galleries, and historical sites related to the subject. Students also can take a trip to New York (usually at spring break) as part of the modern and contemporary art courses.

Studio Art Emphasis

Requirements for an emphasis in Studio Art are nine studio courses—including Art 397 in the junior year and Art 401 in the senior year—and two courses in art history, one of which must be Art 100.

Studio art courses begin with a foundation course, in which through the studio the artist's work—tools, way of seeing, methods, and media—is introduced. From there, students move into basic courses available in four areas

  • Drawing - the structure and articulation of natural and non-objective forms through the use of line and tone, analysis of composition in a variety of media
  • Painting - the exploration of oil, watercolor, and acrylic media, pictorial organization, and critical dialogue
  • Printmaking - the history and techniques of intaglio (etching, dry point, soft ground, and aquatint) and lithography (stone and plate)
  • Sculpture - three-dimensional concepts in a variety of media focus on material and spatial relationships, technical processes, and critical dialogue. Ceramics is offered as part of a total program in sculpture, but does not focus on pottery.

Honors Program

If you have a 3.2 overall average and at least a 3.5 average in the major you may apply to the faculty for participation in the department's Honors Program.

Study Abroad

We encourage all art majors to consider study abroad, not only for the obvious benefit of exposure to other cultures, but also to examine other forms and traditions of artistic expression and their cultural influence. Our faculty is available to help integrate a study abroad experience with a chosen area of concentration.