Become An Agile Thinker and Maker
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. 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.
Learn From Our Dynamic and Inventive Faculty
The Art Department has an active faculty whose areas of specialization include: Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Printmaking, Book Arts, Photography, and New Genres. The program provides a balance between traditional materials and visually based art practices, and theoretically and technologically driven modes of art production. Without dictating a singular method in the production of art, students are encouraged to think across disciplines, and to explore and research a wide variety of approaches in their art making.
Master Visual Languages
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. 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. The major culminates in a thesis exhibition of an original body of work produced over their two final semesters.
Thrive on Experimentation and Exploration
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.
Explore Our Many Areas of Study
The Department of Art has the following areas of study: Ceramics, Book Arts, Drawing, New Genres, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture, as well as Foundations courses and the Senior experience.
Ceramic processes are deeply entrenched in our societal psyche as they involve our oldest technologies and our newest. These range from the simple vessels that allowed us to move away from our water sources to the most advanced technologies that have been instrumental in allowing us to expand our influence beyond the planet. Learn more.
Drawing is a form of thinking, observation, expression, communication, and discovery. Drawing is also a valuable tool for learning strategies for creative problem solving and is applicable to many disciplines both in and outside of art. Learn more.
Environmental Studies Art
Environmental Studies Art courses combine humanities-based research on environmental issues with a socially and politically engaged art practice. Transform your understanding of the flora, fauna, geography, geology, culture and politics of the Inland Northwest region by channeling it through an artistic idiom. Learn more.
Rapid social and technological changes in the 20th and 21st Centuries have opened up countless new possibilities for the production, content, distribution and understanding of art. Today's artists are free to focus on historically recent developments such as Performance Art, Sound Art, Video Art, Computer and Net-Based Art or Art & Social Practice. Learn more.
Courses in painting emphasize diverse approaches to the medium. The program also helps students gain an awareness of historical traditions and contemporary critical and cultural issues relevant to painting. All courses work with color, form and paint handling using oil paint and mediums. Learn more.
Photography classes explore the practices of film and digital image-making, with photography broadly defined as optically gathered images reproduced through light-sensitive materials. The darkroom classes use film cameras and enlargers while exploring the chemical manipulation of light-sensitive materials. The digital classes use cameras and scanners to create digital files that will be manipulated with various software programs. Learn more.
Printmaking & Book Arts
The Printmaking and Book Arts area provides students with an understanding of the processes, concepts, and issues that inform contemporary printmaking and book arts. Students develop a broad range of traditional and contemporary skills in the creation of editioned and one-of-a-kind prints, installations, posters, zines, broadsides, and artists books. Learn more.
Courses in Sculpture situate art making squarely within the larger social/political narratives, cultural conditions, and technologies that produce the objects and images that become regarded as art. Projects are designed to foster hands-on thinking and making that is as informed by historical consciousness as it is by contemporary possibility and experience. Learn more.
Foundations courses introduce students to topics that include art and public engagement, digital processes and production, material translations, the transformed object, contemporary print and artists' book, approaches in abstract painting, optical imaging and more. Learn more.
Senior Capstone Experience
Students majoring in art participate in a two-semester capstone experience consisting of a fall Senior Studio Seminar and spring Thesis Seminar, geared towards developing work for their thesis exhibition. Senior art majors receive their own semi-private studio space in community with their peers. Learn more.