Faculty: Chris Willcox (Chair), Eric Carroll, Ruthann Godollei, Summer Hills-Bonczyk, Joanna Inglot, Stanton Sears, Kari Shepherdson-Scott, Megan Vossler, Serdar Yalçin
The art and art history department combines within a single department the creative aspects of art making (studio art program) and the study of art as a historical and theoretical discipline (art history program). The department offers special opportunities for students to increase understanding of the meaning and purpose of visual arts, their historical development, and their role in society. Students develop knowledge and creativity by studying painting, drawing, printmaking, digital imagining, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and by learning art history across different historical epochs and cultural areas. By combining theory and practice and cross-listing with other departments, the art and art history department provides students with interdisciplinary offerings that broaden the liberal arts background.
The faculty of department consists of professional artists and scholars who are experienced teachers committed to ensure a rich and balanced curriculum for:
- Students wishing to gain familiarity with studio practice and history of art for a general education and enhanced appreciation of art;
- Students pursuing careers as professional artists or in art-related fields. These students will acquire advanced skills in specialized mediums for further work on a graduate level;
- Students interested in the historical and philosophical understanding of art and culture and in pursuing careers in art history, museum, gallery work, or other fields in the Fine Arts or Humanities. These students will gain advanced historical and theoretical knowledge as well as excellent research and writing skills to continue graduate work in the discipline or other fields;
- Students wishing to prepare themselves for professional work in architecture, city planning, and landscape design. These students are encouraged to participate in the dual degree architecture program administered in cooperation with Washington University’s School of Architecture in St. Louis. 2018-2019 is the last year that participation in this program will be available.
The art and art history program is designed to encourage a synthesis of art practice and theory. The department offers studio art major and minor; and art history major and minor. Non-majors are also welcome to enroll in art and art history courses and are encouraged to visit our studios and art exhibitions.
The department features an extensive exhibition program in the Law Warschaw Gallery, located in the Art Commons. The gallery hosts six exhibits a year, bringing students in direct contact with living artists and with diverse art and cultures from contemporary and historical periods. The exhibition program is an integral part of classroom instruction; faculty and students routinely tour the gallery, analyzing artwork and discussing issues featured in the exhibits. The gallery also serves as a venue for art history students to learn curatorial practice and it provides a professional setting for art students to exhibit their work in two group exhibitions at the end of the school year (the Annual Student Art Exhibition and the Senior Exhibition).
Throughout the year, the department offers rich programs involving visiting artists, invited lectures, discussions with faculty, and symposia to enrich intellectual exchanges and to enhance students’ learning experience.
The Department is currently offering topics courses in photography which count as a studio art elective for the both Studio Art and Art History major and minor and fulfill the College Fine Arts requirement. Students entering fall 2012 or later should consult the Department for updated major and minor requirements.
The Art Alliance is a student-run organization that plans special activities related to studio art for art majors, minors and any interested non-majors. It administers the Drawing Co-op, an informal opportunity to draw from the figure model.
Art History Club
The Art History Club is a student-run organization that plans special activities for art history majors, minors and any interested non-majors. The club meets several times per month to visit galleries and museum exhibitions, watch films, and carry on discussions on art.
The Visual Resources Library hosts an ever-growing digital collection of over 20,000 images for use in teaching and research. Equipped with high-end scanners, computers, and printers the VRL works with faculty and students find and produce high quality images and other media.
General Distribution Requirement
All art and art history courses count toward the general distribution requirement in fine arts. Topics courses taught by other departments and cross-listed with art may be counted for this requirement with special permission of faculty and chair.
General Education Requirements
Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.
Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.
Sophomore Information Meeting (Declaring a Major)
The art and art history department conducts a group meeting in the spring of each year for all sophomores who wish to consider a major or minor in art or art history. It is a general orientation meeting for all interested students after which they will select an advisor for their program. The meeting is publicized in advance and students are encouraged to indicate their intention to attend it to the department coordinator. At the meeting the students will have to meet faculty and learn about becoming a studio art, architecture or art history major. Faculty also will address the steps in declaring the major and minor.
Junior Review and Junior Art History Review
In the spring of their junior year, all art and art history majors participate in a faculty review of their work. Studio emphasis majors are required to bring examples of most accomplished work for the review and to prepare an oral statement regarding the concepts and goals explored in their art. Art history emphasis majors are required to make a brief oral presentation on their direction in the major and to present a plan for a capstone project they will undertake in the senior year. Art history students are also asked to submit what they consider to be their best research paper to the chair of art history program a week before the review. The purpose of the Junior Art Critique and Junior Art History Review is to provide students with comments from the faculty on the work done in the major so far, to make suggestions for further work in their area of study, and to discuss students’ upcoming capstone projects, and their goals and objectives.
Senior Capstone Project
Senior Studio Seminar (ART 488 ) provides a setting in which art studio majors complete their capstone projects that culminate in a professional public exhibition of their recent work. The seminar meets during the spring semester to discuss theoretical grounding for putting contemporary art and student’s own work in context. Faculty and students discuss graduate school opportunities and careers in art. Students learn how to write their artist’s statements, professional resumes, and applications for grants.
Art History Methodology Seminar (ART 487 ) provides a setting in which art history seniors work on their capstone project which consists of a 25-30 page research paper and a required public oral presentation at the end of the academic year. The seminar, which meets in the spring, covers different methodological approaches to art history and teaches students how to apply them to their own research.
Students must enroll for a 2-credit independent study course in the spring semester of their senior year to complete their capstone requirement.
Distinguished Merit Awards
In the spring of each year the faculty of the art and art history department selects senior recipients of the Distinguished Merit Awards for comprehensive achievement in studio art and/or art history. The awards are based on a review of the student’s work done over an extended period of time and done for their final capstone projects. Students nominated for these awards will be notified by the chair of the department and invited to receive their distinctions at the end of the semester.
The art and art history department participates in the Honors Program but honors projects are accepted at the discretion of the individual faculty who are willing to supervise the independent work of a student. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.
ART 194 , ART 294 , ART 394 , ART 494
Topics courses are occasional, often experimental courses, offered by instructors at their own initiative or in response to student requests. Detailed information announced at registration. (4 credits)
The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, and preceptorships. For more information contact the department office and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.