Studio Art

Why take courses in this discipline?

The studio art department provides curricular opportunities for the development of technical skills, critical thinking, and historical understanding while fostering effective visual communication in multiple forms and mediums.

How does the discipline contribute to the liberal arts?

Students enlarge their understanding of the liberal arts through the study of creative expression. In the analysis of creative works — whether through historical survey of forms, aesthetic theory, or interpretive practice — the arts occupy the foreground, though knowledge of history and society may inform the analysis. In this way, courses in the visual arts complement studies in anthropology, history, philosophy, religious studies, and other fields. Students also benefit from learning, through direct instruction in studio practice, the intense discipline of art and its interplay between conscious intent and unconscious design.

How does a student get started?

The Department of Art recommends that students considering studio art as a major enroll in Introduction to the Studio (ART 111) or Drawing (ART 134). Both courses are foundational for the major, and introduce core principles of the discipline in rigorous studio learning environments. Introduction to the Studio (ART 111) is a gateway course required for enrolling in the 200 level studio art courses.

Students majoring in studio art must also take Introduction to Art History (ARH 103) and one other non-studio visual cultures course approved by the Department of Art (the Studio Art Major and Requirements page has a list of pre-approved courses).

Courses in Studio Art

All courses in Art Studio

Regular 200-Level Courses

  • Print Media
  • Painting
  • Ceramics
  • Sculpture
  • Digital Media

Advanced Studio Courses

  • Hybrid Media
  • Contemporary Practices
  • Site Specific

Recent Special Topics

  • Contemporary Photography
  • Figure Drawing
  • Sculpture: Multiples
  • Experimental Ceramics
Sample Four-Year Plan for a Studio Art Major
Year Fall Spring

ART 103

ART 111

ART 134


Second ART 2XX ART 2XX
Third OCS or ART 2XX OCS or Non-Studio Elective
Fourth 300-level Advanced Studio 300-level Advanced Studio

Additional Requirements

Studio majors must complete a public exhibition under the advisement of studio faculty in their senior year.


To be considered for honors in studio art, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must submit for review to the studio faculty a digital portfolio of artwork that demonstrates superior performance in coursework combined with superior breadth and/or depth of individual creative research.

Off-Campus Study

Students are encouraged to consider the advantages of a semester abroad in an approved program. Off-campus programs in this country also are available to majors with adequate preparation for advanced study. There are opportunities for academic internships at the Grinnell Museum of Art and others as arranged. Competitive summer internships at museums and institutions are open to qualifying students with appropriate preparation.

Contributions to Other Majors/Concentrations

Courses in studio art contribute to majors or concentrations in:

Department Events and Opportunities

Studio art students can apply for numerous awards, grants, scholarships, and fellowships.

Bachelor of Arts Exhibition

The Annual Bachelor of Arts Exhibition is a professional exhibition of student work by studio art majors in the visual arts. Third- and fourth-year majors are welcome to submit proposals for 2D and 3D artwork and digital media, film and video, installations, and performances.

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