Studio Art Curriculum

Introduction to the Studio

Introduction to the Studio is one of the Department of Art’s foundations courses and is designed to introduce core principles of art making in a rigorous and active studio environment. A primary concern is examining visual organization and utilizing it to promote effective communication in multiple forms and mediums. To this end we explore visual organization as line, shape, texture, value, and color in course projects, which can be two-dimensional, or three-dimensional, and created using analog or digital processes. In the classroom, projects begin when the instructor introduces a key concept, material, or process. The class is then given adequate time to craft a visual response. The active studio time component is critical for the growth of the students as they learn by making as well as through examining other presented solutions. Upon the completion of a course project we utilize the class critique as a useful structure to evaluate success, offer suggestions, and practice using a visual vocabulary.

Elements of Introduction to the Studio include:

  • Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Digital Media
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • MAPs
  • Ninth-semester fellowships

Digital Media Philosophy

The Digital Media curriculum is foremost concerned with utilizing the computer as a creative tool in the artistic process, as well as broadening the students understanding of new media practices. Broad in approach to skill and content development, this studio course is meant to introduce students to a variety of creative software programs and output processes, while course projects and readings intersect with contemporary social issues and art theory. Some examples of utilized software include Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Soundtrack Pro, and Final Cut Pro, all of which are utilized in the creation of forms that range from print images to vinyl images, and sound compositions to videos. Because many students enter the class with a wide range of familiarity with creative software, the curriculum is purposefully designed to reinforce fundamental technical processes that inform and challenge all skill levels. Upon the completion of assigned readings or course projects, group discussions and critiques are utilized as a structure for the exchange of information, to gauge success, and to practice and build a visual vocabulary. 

Painting Philosophy

The Department of Art’s painting curriculum is concerned with developing a student’s understanding of the medium in a broad and multifaceted studio experience that employs both traditional and contemporary approaches to the process of painting. Of primary importance is familiarizing students with the tools, materials, and techniques of painting while fostering perceptual development in color evaluation and interaction. At this beginning level of learning, representational replication is a good method to present challenges as well as evaluate success. And to this end most course projects are painted from observation and are accomplished using oil paints on a variety of substrates including paper, hardboard, and stretched canvas. We also investigate divergent processes of creating and pictorial resolution through collage and the use of acrylic paints and mediums. The acrylic paint experiments are less rigorously concerned with compositional harmony, but are very useful in broadening a students understanding of paint application. At the conclusion of course projects we utilize the class critique as a useful structure for the exchange of information, to gauge success, and to practice and build a visual vocabulary.


The 2,400 square feet printmaking studio is designed to accommodate students working with intaglio, lithographic, collagraphic, and relief processes.

There are five presses:

  • two lithographic presses (one 30" x 50" Brand and 26" x 48" Takach)
  • three intaglio presses (one 26" x 48" Takach and two Brand presses, one 36" x 60" and one 16" x 30")

Four large hotplates are available for grounds application and plate wiping. A separate acid room isolates any fumes produced by various mordants used during the etching process, and a state-of-the-art ventilation system throughout the studio makes it a very safe and healthy environment in which to create image.


Incorporated into each of the media-oriented problems are drawing and design components that insure each student's recognition of the relationship among drawing, design, and the designated medium.


The Department of Art encourages studio art majors to consider developing and proposing a MAP (ART 499 Mentored Advanced Project) with a concentrated focus within a specific medium in which the student has extensive experience. This course, which is proposed by the student artist and mentored by a faculty member, is aimed at the establishment of a personal direction in content and personal expression while developing a mature portfolio in preparation for an advanced degree. The project includes preparation, creation, and public presentation of a body of artwork.

Ninth-Semester Fellowship

The Ninth-Semester Fellowship in Studio Art is a competitive opportunity for continued independent research in the semester immediately following graduation. This fellowship provides financial support, studio space, time, and faculty feedback for a semester of creative research in preparation for graduate or professional work. In return for these benefits, the ninth-semester fellow assists the Department of Art through various tasks, such as helping install student art exhibitions, and studio lab monitoring. A presentation of created artwork in a formal exhibition is required at the conclusion of the semester. Ninth-semester fellowship application procedure.

Previous ninth-semester fellows include:

  • 2008 Kiri Aho
  • 2009 Ben Howort
  • 2010 Camille Bonham
  • 2012 Lauren Flynn

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