The college views the study of the arts as a vital part of a liberal arts education and shows this commitment by offering many state-of-the-art facilities and venues for the creation, display, and study of art.

For art majors, the beautiful Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center serves as the academic heart of your experience at Davidson.

Belk Visual Arts Center

Organized around a central, light-filled atrium, the 43,000 square-foot Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center offers abundant teaching, studio, office, meeting, work, storage, and gallery spaces. This magnificent facility was designed by the architectural firm of Graham Gund and Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and opened in fall 1993.

The centerpiece of the atrium is Auguste Rodin's Jean d'Aire, gifted by the Pepper Family in conjunction with the dedication of the Belk Visual Art Center. In the process of completing his largest public commission, Monument to The Burghers of Calais, Rodin made many studies of the models, including this full-body, larger-than-life nude study of Jean d’Aire. Learn more about Jean d'Aire.

Van Every/Smith Galleries

Located at the front entrance to the Belk Visual Arts Center, the William H. Van Every and Edward M. Smith Galleries support the academic mission of the college through the presentation, interpretation, and discussion of primarily contemporary artworks in all media for students and members of the Davidson community, as well as for national and international visitors to the campus. In addition to working with professional artists, the Galleries also host solo exhibitions by graduating senior art majors, and an annual student exhibition featuring art created by students from across the entire student body.

Permanent Collection

The Galleries maintain a permanent collection of art that offers students and members of the community an opportunity to interact with and research over 4,000 works of art spanning more than five centuries. The collection, which includes works by notable artists such as Rembrandt, Picasso, Bearden, Abakanowicz, and Shonibare, are cataloged and housed in climate-controlled quarters located within the Visual Arts Center. The works are displayed in the Galleries and academic buildings on campus and are studied and incorporated into various courses. Additionally, works are available for loan to other regional, national, and international art institutions.

Academic & Studio Spaces

Students enrolled in classes in the Visual Arts Center have CatCard access to facilitates from 6:00am-2:00am daily. 

Art history courses are taught in the 50-seat lecture hall, the Mary D.B.T. Semans Auditorium, with comprehensive audio-visual capabilities. The adjacent seminar room also provides digital access and study space. The digital collection of more than 70,000 images is available as a resource to students.

Studio art courses are taught in lab and studio facilities for painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, and digital media. The 6,500 square-foot sculpture area enables students to work in wood, clay, plaster, metal, and features an outdoor bronze foundry and 3D printing capabilities. On the second floor are large classroom studios for painting and drawing, as well as a state-of-the-art digital lab.

Senior studio art majors are granted individual studios. Faculty offices with adjoining studios and a comfortable student-faculty lounge complete the Visual Arts Center's space.

Professor and student dressed in protective gear pour liquid bronze at the bronze foundry.

Bronze Foundry

The outdoor bronze foundry is located off the Belk Visual Arts Center. Sculpture students have the opportunity to cast works in bronze through the lost-wax process, essentially creating hollow wax models of their pieces, which are cast in ceramic molds to be replaced by liquid metal. The foundry contains a furnace and kiln.

Student is painting a canvas in his studio at the Visual Arts Center

Individual Studio Spaces

Art majors with an emphasis in studio art are granted individual studio spaces on a competitive basis beginning junior year. Majors use this space for coursework and to prepare for their senior solo exhibitions, which they host in the Smith Gallery.

Two students work with machinery that cuts wood for a sculpture at the Sculpture Lab

Sculpture Lab

Basic and advanced sculpture courses take place in the 6,500 square-foot sculpture area at the Belk Visual Arts Center. The equipment enables students to work in media such as wood, clay, plaster, metal, and 3D prints.

Student admires 3D printed snowflake created in Studio M

Studio M

The campus maker & innovation space regularly hosts gatherings that allow students in all courses to experiment with 3D printing, laser cutting, deconstructing and rebuilding objects.