The Art Program
The department offers two distinct but interrelated majors – art history and studio art. The Art History major provides the background for a life-long appreciation of art and the intellectual framework for conducting research in art history. The Studio Art major challenges the student to address theory and technique in the making of art. With resources such as a subscription to ARTstor digital database, lecture rooms with sophisticated equipment, a darkroom, studios with skylights, and a computer imaging and multimedia laboratory, the department is fully equipped to serve both majors.
The Art History major explores in chronological sequence the span of Western art within its cultural, philosophical, and historical contexts. Special courses on styles, issues, and individuals in Western and non-Western art give a broad overview of the complexity of artistic expressions. Proximity to Washington, D.C., Richmond, Baltimore, and New York City, give students first-hand experiences of art works. Visiting scholars and artists offer students important networking opportunities, as well as lectures on recent developments in the field. In the internship program, students gain valuable experience and career contacts by working in museums and art institutions in the Washington, D.C., and Richmond areas, and beyond.
The Studio Art major teaches technical skills, increases aesthetic sensibilities, and advances the student’s individual development primarily in the areas of ceramics, drawing, painting, print media (printmaking, photography, and digital imaging), and sculpture/time-based media (performance and video). Upper-level students are encouraged to explore personal approaches and technical skills specific to their area of interest. Studies for the advanced student focus on conceptual approaches to artistic problems.
Internships are also available and offer students professional experience outside the classroom. The Studio Art majors culminate their studies with the capstone course, ARTS 474: Professional Practices in Studio Art and an exhibit in duPont Gallery or by submission of a senior portfolio.
The University Galleries present art exhibitions and events of interest to the University community. Students gain valuable experience in the Galleries as catalogers, researchers, administrative assistants, and exhibition installers.
Requirements for the Studio Art Major
Thirty-nine (39) credits to include ARTS 104, 105 (or portfolio exemption), 120, and ARTH114, 115 and 3 credits in Art History at the 200-level or above. An additional twenty-one (21) credits in Studio Art includes at least six credits at the 200-level, twelve (12) credits at the 300-level or above and ARTS 474: Professional Practices in Studio Art.
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.
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.
225 – Color Theory (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105 or permission of instructor. The study of color as it relates to visual perception, artistic expression, and structure; the theories of Munsell, Itten, Goethe, and others are used as tools. Reading, writing, research and speaking assignments accompany studio activity.
227 – Wheel Throwing (3)
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.
263 – Textile Design (3)
Prerequisite: ARTS 105 or permission of instructor. Introduction to the creation of fiber structures using a variety of processes including weaving, needle arts, embroidery, basketry, and quilting. Traditional and non-traditional materials are incorporated with an emphasis on broad experimentation. Contemporary issues in fiber arts is discussed. 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 is a writing and speaking intensive course 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 skill 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 is a writing and speaking intensive course 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.
361 – Experimental Watercolor ( 3)
Prerequisite: One year of drawing or permission of instructor. Problems and techniques in traditional and non-traditional approaches to the medium of watercolor and related water media are explored. Does not fulfill the painting requirement in the major but can count as elective credit.
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 105 and ARTH 114 or 115. 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.