At Muhlenberg, Studio Art and Art History are housed together in the Art Department, located in the Baker Center for the Arts. We believe that each discipline informs the other, providing students with a more complete understanding of their area of interest. We offer both a major and minor in studio art. Our major is distinctive in offering students areas of concentration in a medium of their choice and in the opportunity for students to participate in a Senior Thesis Exhibition as an extension of the senior capstone.
As part of the liberal arts, our 100 level courses welcome all students at Muhlenberg, regardless of prior experience or intention to major. Studio Art counts for the AR distribution requirement. We offer studio courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, digital and darkroom photography, digital media, and sculpture. In addition, faculty teach interdisciplinary and special topics courses including first year seminars and short-term study abroad. Students at all levels receive one-on-one attention in small classes capped at 15 and have daily access to all of the studio facilities.
The Studio Art Major & Minor
The curriculum of the studio art program is designed to prepare students to develop independent creative work, research new concepts, gain in-depth skills in a particular medium, and develop transferable skills including written and visual communication. Our students are strongly encouraged to double major/minor, study abroad, and take interdisciplinary courses outside of the department. Students may now also double major/minor in Art History & Studio Art.
Foundations: Students take two foundations courses, Drawing Studio and Digital Foundations. Drawing Studio is an accelerated introductory drawing course (equivalent of Drawing I) for majors and accelerated students. This should be taken instead of Drawing I for students planning to major in Studio Art. Digital Foundations is a seminar exploring digital media and professional practice in contemporary art.
The Concentration: For the core of the major students choose an area of concentration which they explore in depth. Concentrations include: Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture.
Senior Seminar (CUE): All Studio Art Majors participate in Senior Seminar, an exciting program that allows students to work independently within a supervised structure, meeting regularly with studio art faculty and visiting artists. All studio majors are required to complete the fall semester CUE: Senior Studio Seminar: Portfolio Development, in which they develop a sustained project over the course of the semester. Students who have a strong record of work are invited to extend their project into a yearlong visual thesis, culminating in a group exhibition in the Martin Art Gallery through Senior Studio Seminar: Exhibition.
Studio Art Honors Program
Selected Studio seniors are invited to enroll in Senior Studio Seminar: Thesis Exhibition during the spring semester. Students enrolled in this course are invited to submit an application to the faculty for honors designation. Departmental Honors in Studio Art will be granted to majors who have met the following conditions:
-The candidate has earned a minimum graduation GPA of 3.20
-The candidate has met the expectations of both Senior Studio Seminar courses.
-The candidate has successfully participated in the Senior Art Exhibit, and the faculty has juried the exhibited work to be of superior quality. The faculty will jury the work based on concept, research and preparation, technical execution, and presentation.
Studio Art Program Goals
-Demonstrate proficiency in analytical drawing and digital media skills
-Discuss and articulate knowledge of contemporary artists and understanding of the current ideas and concepts generated by visual artworks in global cultural discourse
-Demonstrate proficiency in and knowledge of visual conventions and issues resulting from concentrated study in one medium
-Research ideas, and make one’s work accessible to others through clear, well organized visual thinking
-Demonstrate skills in personal discipline (studio habits, ability to focus, ability to work independently) as effectively applied to problem-solving
-Demonstrate a self-reflective and critical approach in making artworks
-Produce independent thesis work that is informed by a broad knowledge of visual media/ Document work and present it in modes consistent with current professional practice
Program Goals Shared by Art History and Studio Art
-Demonstrate an understanding of visual language in its role of imparting meaning
-Acquire critical thinking skills and the ability to articulate concepts and present arguments
-Effectively communicate issues and aspects of visual experience and culture in oral and written arguments, and studio projects.
Studio Art Major Requirements (10 Courses)
-Introduction to Art History I
-Introduction to Art History II
-A writing intensive course in the department, generally ARH218 Modern Art or ARH222 Contemporary Art
-The Concentration: at least one studio sequence through the 300 level
-One additional ARS 100 level course
-CUE: Senior Studio Seminar: Portfolio Development
Studio Art Minor Requirements (5 Courses)
-Drawing I OR Drawing Studio
-Introduction to Art History I OR Introduction to Art History II
-One ARS sequence through the 200 level
-One additional ARS 100 level course
Studio Art Courses
100 level studio courses are taught every semester. Advanced courses are offered at least once per year. The department offers additional studio art courses every year as special topics, through college-wide interdisciplinary programs, and the LVAIC consortium listed here.
- Digital Foundations
- Drawing Studio (majors should take this instead of Drawing I)
- Drawing I, II, III
- Painting I, II, III
- Photography I, II, III
- Analog Photography (counts as Photography I)
- Printmaking I, II, III
- Sculpture I, II, III
- Drawing from Nature
- Figure Studio
- CUE Senior Studio Seminar: Portfolio Development (fall)
- Senior Studio Seminar: Thesis Exhibition (spring)
How to Declare a Studio Art Major or Minor
- Pick up a “Field of Study Declaration” form from the Registrar or online here.
- Get current advisor’s signature to drop undeclared status/ drop current major or minor (if needed).
- Email Art Department Chair Margo Hobbs (email@example.com) to set up an appointment.
- Get the Art Department Chair’s signature. You may request a specific advisor. Students typically get their first choice of advisor unless that faculty already has a full advising load.
For more information on advising and declaring a major/minor at Muhlenberg visit the Registrar's FAQ page.