The Art program emphasizes the rich diversity of human experience as it is expressed in visual form. The transmission of personal and cultural values through objects is a phenomenon that can be observed around us constantly in daily life; it is also something that happens over time, through space, and across cultures. Indeed, our need to make, experience, and comprehend art is as old and as profound as our need to speak. It is through art that we can understand ourselves and our potential, and it is through art that we will be understood and remembered by those who will come after us.
The Art major, as part of the broad liberal arts tradition, fosters the development of analytical skills, engagement with ideas, and the exploration of social and personal values. Consequently, students majoring in Art have found their study a good point of departure for careers in education, professional art, advertising, communications, architecture, art criticism, and museum work, as well as law, business and government.
Through creative work, Studio Art courses develop skills that emphasize visual perception and articulation, conceptual and practical problems, and technical skills in a variety of media and processes. Foundation courses in basic design and composition prepare students for creative work in courses dealing with particular media or processes, such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, mixed media, electronic media, and photography. Upper level courses develop students' conceptual and artistic skills needed for successful completion of a final thesis project highlighted in the annual Senior Show at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.
The Art Building is located on the northwest corner of the campus at State and Winter Streets. Built in 1905 as a medical school and later used as the science building and then the College of Music, the building was completely renovated for use by the Department of Art and Art History in 1977, and remodeled with a 6,600 square foot addition in 2002-2003. In 2014, Art History relocated and the building became specific to Studio Art, i.e., the creation of art. The building includes studios for drawing and design, painting, printmaking, photography, and digital media; a student gallery; and faculty and administrative offices. The department is well equipped with studio equipment needed to make works of art in a variety of media. The Germaine Fuller Japanese Garden adjacent to the building is another educational and aesthetic resource.
Integral to the program in Art is the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, one block from the Art Building. The museum enriches the Art program, offering opportunities to study, firsthand, works of American, European, Asian, and Native American art, to conduct research projects on particular objects or groups of objects in the University's growing collection, and to prepare for a possible career in museum work.