Whitman’s studio art major offers an intensive undergraduate program spanning diverse media, processes and ideas. Through extensive personal instruction, students are given the intellectual and technical tools to become agile thinkers and makers of contemporary visual meanings. The art classroom is a dynamic space where students wrestle actively with the materials and concepts that inform the practice of art in the 21st century.
The Art Department has a strong faculty consisting of 6 full time and 2 adjunct professors whose areas of specialization include: Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Printmaking, Book Arts, Photography, and New Genres. Without dictating a singular axiom in the production of art, students are encouraged to think in a transdisciplinary idiom, and to explore and research a wide variety of approaches in their art making.
Classrooms, student and faculty studios, offices, exhibition spaces, a student lounge, and digital media lab are all housed in the Fouts Center for Visual Arts – a state-of-the-art facility that manifests Whitman’s celebration of and commitment to the visual arts as an essential component of a liberal arts education.
As a major or minor, students progress through foundation level courses to intermediate and advanced courses where they gain fluency with the materials and techniques of visual language. The program provides a balance between traditional materials and visually based art practices, and theoretically and technologically driven modes of art production. Students learn creative problem-solving skills, non-linear and abstract-thinking skills, and how to interpret and express complex ideas in a wide range of sensorial forms.
During the senior year art majors participate in a unique year-long seminar which, in addition to research, production and critiques, includes a faculty-led fieldtrip to New York City. Visiting the galleries and museums in the world capital of contemporary art, students are able to position their endeavors within a cultural and historic framework. Their year culminates in a thesis exhibition of an original body of work produced over their two final semesters.
Students of the Art Department, whether for a semester or throughout an entire major, learn to be powerful thinkers and makers, learn to thrive in an environment of experimentation and exploration, and learn to ask compelling questions of what art can be in the world today and tomorrow.