The Studio Art Program at Willamette University aims to introduce students to a wide variety of media, materials and genres. In keeping with goals of the Liberal Arts Education, Art is taught in an interdisciplinary way, and our curriculum emphasizes the development of technique and craftsmanship as well as theory and conceptualization in the context of the Fine Arts. Our program is designed specifically to encourage students to question and expand their understanding of what art is, how it affects the viewer, and how it is made. Students are guided towards seeing the arts as a means of exploring the world around them, a way of finding and defining their own place in that world, and a vehicle for communicating that understanding to others. Students develop skill in using art as a visual, symbolic, formal and expressive language. The department sees an awareness of an appreciation for process as being a key component of art practice. The program addresses both the artistic and verbal/written skills students need to succeed in the arts, and supports student development with introductory to advanced courses, culminating in a thesis project.
The following information describes expectations for the Studio Art major at Willamette University:
- The Studio Art program is designed to provide both breadth and depth in your development as an artist. The program places emphasis on an understanding of general art concepts through a variety of courses including foundation studies, drawing, and two- and three-dimensional studies. In addition, students are required to take art history courses. Later in the program, students focus their development in an area of specialty. The program prepares students for their final thesis project created in Senior Seminar, the apex course for the Art Major. See the course catalog for the specific requirements of the major and variety of subjects and media available for exploration.
- Students who declare a Studio Art major are asked to take a foundation course their first semester, Advanced Media and Design in the spring of their junior year, Writing for Artists and Senior Seminar their senior year, and balance the remaining program requirements with guidance from their advisors. It is highly encouraged that students declare their major by the beginning of their sophomore year and have at least three studio courses taken by the start of their junior year.
- Course projects are regularly displayed in the Art Building and elsewhere on campus. In addition, the Student Art Coordinator facilitates special group exhibitions each semester. Art Majors are encouraged to regularly exhibit their work on campus and beyond.
- In conjunction with Student Scholarship Recognition Day and the Senior Art Majors exhibit, all junior Art Majors participate in the Spring Review Exhibition in the Student Gallery in the Art Building in April. Students formally present their works for review by their peers and the studio faculty.
- Studio Art Majors enroll in Senior Seminar in the fall and spring of their senior year. Students and faculty members meet as a group in weekly classroom sessions to develop senior thesis projects and discuss current issues in the arts. The thesis project builds upon art skills and strategies developed during the years in the program. Regular meetings with advisors encourage students to move beyond ordinary coursework to a new level of commitment and originality for the thesis project. Senior Art Majors present their final thesis project in the Senior Exhibition at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art each April. This is one of the most popular and heavily attended museum exhibitions of the year. A final group critique session is scheduled in which students present their work to faculty and peers.
- The Department strives to maintain contact with alumni in an effort to track our graduates' on-going work in the arts or other fields. Please keep us informed of your experiences beyond Willamette.
Further questions may be referred to faculty advisors and the Department Chair.