Studio Art Program
The Studio Art major, leading to a bachelor of arts degree in Studio Art, fosters artistic and scholarly connections through creative inquiry and analytical problem solving. Exploration fuels the creative mind and our studio “incubators” provide technical expertise while embracing risk-taking and conceptual development. Students learn and work in well-equipped studios that focus on a variety of disciplines, including Digital Media, Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture. Faculty members who are actively exhibiting artists, researchers and dedicated teachers lead each discipline, and our flexible curriculum supports a more interdisciplinary approach to thinking about and making art.
UMW’s location between Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia provides students with ample resources to experience top quality artwork in person, and to undertake optional internships and apprenticeships in the field. Visiting artist lectures and field trips support our commitment to visual and cultural literacy and our faculty members work closely with students to better understand the impact of art and technology in the professional world. The UMW Galleries bring exciting exhibitions and events to campus while advancing the educational goals of the University through the collection, exhibition, and interpretation of works of art. The course of study culminates in a student-organized senior exhibition (or exit portfolio) that highlights the work of our majors while adding to the cultural life of the university and the greater Fredericksburg community.
A degree in Studio Art at UMW prepares students to become active artists, creative thinkers, and engaged citizens. Our graduates are successful professional artists, teachers, university professors, gallery owners and graphic designers. Many earn MFA degrees at competitive institutions like Florida State, Virginia Commonwealth and Penn State Universities. Others go on to apply what they have learned to careers in film, art therapy, furniture design, and arts management to name a few. The studio art major provides a foundation of creative problem solving, idea generation, studio technique and critical discourse that prepares students for success in whatever field they pursue.
Requirements for the Studio Art Major
Forty-two (42) credits to include ARTS 104, 105 (or portfolio exemption), 120, 474, 475 and 6 credits in Art History. An additional twenty-one (21) credits in Studio Art includes at least nine credits at the 200-level and twelve (12) credits at the 300-level or above.
Studio majors are required to participate in the major assessment and senior exhibition/senior portfolio.
Studio Art Course Offerings
Studio Art course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of ARTS in the course listings.
104 – Digital Approaches to Fine Art (3)
This course introduces basic tools and techniques of computer-generated art in the context of studio art theory and practice.
105 – Design Principles (3)
Basic study of design elements and their use in the organization and construction of visual communication in both two and three dimensions. Introduction to basic writing and speaking skills.
120 – Drawing I (3)
Introduction to the principles of traditional and experimental drawing practice in diverse media. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
219 – Digital Video Production (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 104. A production focused introduction to video art with an emphasis on cinematography, editing, performance, and sound.
220 – Intermediate Drawing (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 120 or permission of instructor. Advanced problems in drawing practice with emphasis on the relationship of perceptual, conceptual and media aspects. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
223 – Ceramics I (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105 or permission of instructor. Introduction to clay and the processes of hand building and wheel throwing. Studio procedures include clay making, glazing preparation and application, and a variety of firing methods. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
224 – Printmaking I (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 120 or permission of instructor. Introduction to the principles and techniques of print media. Course uses non-toxic, water-soluble materials. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
226 – Animation (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 104. An Introduction to the methods, techniques and history of animation with a special focus on computer animation and traditional stop motion practices.
227 – Wheel Throwing (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105. Introduction to working with clay on the potter’s wheel and the ceramic process. Students will create functional and sculptural forms while exploring high temperature glazes by firing both gas and electric kilns. Building and firing processes will be further informed through the study of historical and contemporary precedents.
231 – Sculpture I (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105 or permission of instructor. Basic techniques of construction are introduced, focusing on additive and subtractive approaches to form. Fundamentals of creative problem solving are covered, as well as an introduction to studio procedures and the use of power tools and machinery. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
241 – Photography I (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105 or permission of instructor. Offers a practical introduction to 35mm film cameras and basic darkroom techniques for printing black-and-white photographs. Study of the history of photography, along with contemporary directions in both silver-based and digital photography is included. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
242 – Painting I (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 120 or permission of instructor. Introduction to the principles of traditional and experimental painting practice primarily in oil and acrylic paints. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
281 – Topics in Studio Art (3–6)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Offers special topics in the theory and practice of making art.
311– Ceramics II (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 223 or permission of instructor. Emphasis on developing content and expression with ceramic materials through advanced wheel throwing and hand-building techniques. High temperature clays and firing methods are covered, along with glaze composition and surface development. Contemporary and historical techniques and research are integrated into course assignments.
313 – Life Drawing (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 220 or permission of instructor. Focuses on comprehensive linear and painterly drawing techniques using the human figure. Emphasis ranges from traditional proportion and composition to experimental and personal interpretations of the figure. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
331– Sculpture II (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 231 or permission of instructor. Conceptual approach to space and form is explored through a broad range of media. Performance, installation, and site-specific works employing found objects, constructed objects, sound, movement, etc., are introduced. Focus is on development of individual creative ideas and approaches to sculpture as a visual language. This course is designed to promote recognition, formulation and articulation of concepts and perceptions about sculpture and extended media.
341 – Multiple Imaging (3)
Prerequisites: ARTS 224 or 241. Course expands upon skills and techniques learned in Photography I and Printmaking I, focusing on the idea of creating images in small editions. A variety of photographic, printmaking, and digital media techniques are explored. Reading, writing, research, and speaking assignments accompany studio work.
342 – Painting II (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 242 or permission of instructor. Advanced problems in painting practice including technical exploration in multiple painting media. This course is designed to promote recognition, formulation and articulation of concepts and perceptions about painting. Emphasis is on individual technical and conceptual development broadened by readings and research.
350 – Photography II (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 241 or permission of instructor. Course expands upon traditional darkroom techniques and concepts learned in Photography I. Examines contemporary concepts and techniques in photography as a fine art. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
381 – Special Topics in Studio Art ( 3)
Prerequisite: One Studio Art course at the 200-level. Course provides advanced study in a specific area of Studio Art with an emphasis on individual processes and extensive creative inquiry. The course is designed to facilitate the development of ideas that contribute to the artist’s content and decision-making processes, as well as the development of applied skills needed to manifest these ideas.
450 – Topics in Art and Art History (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105 and ARTH 114 or 115, or permission of instructor. Offers topics that bridge traditional boundaries between Art History and Studio Art.
454 – Approaches to Video Art (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 104 or 105. A comprehensive look at the development of video and other time-based media as important art forms in contemporary art; explores the formal development, content, and format of various multi-media art forms.
470 – Special Studies in Studio Art (3)
Prerequisite: Must have completed at least one 300-level course. Provides a study of a specific area in Studio Art. Topic is selected by faculty in consultation with students.
474 – Professional Practices in Studio Art (3)
Prerequisite: Must have completed at least two 300-level studio art courses. Senior status preferred. Course addresses contemporary issues in art and professional development as an artist. The course covers: development of a body of work, professional development in speaking and writing, artist résumé and statement, artist biography, portfolio preparation, job opportunities, interview practices, graduate school application process, exhibition opportunities, grant funding, artist residencies, and financial accounting.
475 – Senior Thesis Seminar (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 474. Senior Studio Art majors are involved in independent research in their chosen medium or mode of expression. Individual studio research is supplemented through group meetings involving critiques, discussions, readings and field trips. Students apply all skills acquired during their course of study towards the development of a cohesive body of artwork. Analytical and conceptual approaches to art making are emphasized.
491, 492 – Individual Study in Studio Art (3, 3)
Prerequisite: Must have completed at least one 300-level studio art course in the medium. Permission of Studio Art faculty and written proposal required. Allows for independent work under the supervision of the Studio Art faculty. Available on a competitive basis. Vehicle for those seeking honors in Studio Art.
499 – Internship (Credits variable)
A supervised experience developed in consultation with the Studio Art faculty. A maximum of three credits may count toward elective credit in the major.