ART - Art course descriptions


Mathew Kelly (chair), Brian Roberts, Susan Swanson


Statement of philosophy

The Art major is designed to provide a strong foundation to prepare students for careers related to art, creativity, and visual communication. The major is also structured in a way that allows students flexibility to combine with another program of study (e.g. Psychology, Business Management, Theatre, Communications, teaching licensure, foreign language, etc.), providing even more pathways for students to turn their individual interests into meaningful careers.

The visual arts are a primary mode of inquiry and an essential component of a Liberal Arts education. Through the making and studying of the visual arts, the Visual and Performing Arts Department prepares students to be visually literate scholars who engage in the shaping of the modern world. At all levels emphasis is placed upon critical visual analysis, idea generation, and technical facility, with strong written and oral communication skills.

The art program provides a wide range of experiences within the fields of Art and Art History. Students work closely with their instructors to develop their creative voice and discover the influence of art throughout history. In studio courses, students learn to work firsthand with materials, idea generation strategies, conceptual development, and skill building techniques. Courses in Art History integrate the skills learned and practiced in the studio into the study and critical analysis of visual and material cultures. Students use the knowledge gained through the close study of works and history to think critically about the relationships between art and a range of human endeavors.

Students seeking teaching certification at the elementary or secondary level must fulfill the coursework requirements for teaching licensure in the state of Iowa in addition to the Art major requirements (see the “Education – K-12 Art, Music, PE” section of the catalog).

In addition to the classroom experiences, our students are active in a variety of student organizations and co-curricular activities. All of these experiences contribute to the total development of our students and help prepare them to become leaders for the 21st century.


Internships and off campus opportunities

Art students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs and/or the Chicago or Washington, D.C. metropolitan programs. Students should consult with the department faculty and the office of internships and career services for learning opportunities available through internships with such organizations as galleries and museums. Internships are also an integral part of the Chicago and Washington programs.


Major Communication Skills

At the time students declare their intent to major in Art, the department will evaluate their writing, reading, speaking, and critical thinking skills for the first time. Art majors are required to create and maintain an electronic portfolio documenting their representative work. The portfolio is begun the semester a student officially declares a major in Art and is assembled in consultation with her or his academic advisor. The department faculty meet annually to discuss and evaluate each student‘s communication skills. A student whose skills in one or more areas (speaking, reading and writing) are not sufficient, works with her/his advisor to design an improvement plan.

A critical demonstration of skills development occurs in ART 325 History of Modern Art and in ART 485 Senior Seminar in Art. ART 325 serves as the departmental writing intensive course and emphasizes critical reading and writing skills. ART 485 serves as the senior capstone requiring daily reading, writing, and speaking. In addition, students are required to make a formal oral presentation and written thesis in conjunction with their senior exhibitions.

The department conducts a final portfolio review during the fourth year. Passing the final portfolio review is necessary to receive the department’s endorsement for graduation.


Major/Minor Restrictions

Students may not minor in both Art History and Art. Art majors may not also minor in Art History.


Art Major Requirements (42 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following: 

    ART 151 2D Problem Solving (4)
    ART 161 3D Problem Solving (4) 
    ART 325 History of Modern Art (4) 
    ART 425 Theory, Criticism, and Art Since 1945 (4)
    ART 485 Senior Seminar in Art (4) - includes senior exhibit (minimum grade “C” required

            2 Complete two of the following:

ART  110  Art and Architecture of the Ancient World (4)
                  ART   221 Medieval Art and Architecture (3)
                  ART   222 European Art from the Renaissance to Romanticism (3)      
                  ART   241 Art, Science & Knowledge-Making, 1500- 1800 (3)
                  ART   242 Netherlandish Art, 1400- 1650 (3)

            3.   Complete 16 credits of ART electives

            4.   Pass a final portfolio review as determined by department faculty.


Art Minor Requirements (18 credits)

Complete 18 credits of ART courses, including at least one art history course and 3 credits of studio art electives at the 300-400 level.


Art History Minor Requirements (20 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following:
    ART 221 Medieval Art and Architecture (3)
    ART 222 European Art from the Renaissance to Romanticism (3)
    ART 325 History of Modern Art (4)
    ART 425 Art Theory and Criticism (4)
  2. Complete at least 3 credits of art history electives
  3. Complete at least 3 credits of studio art electives

Teaching Licensure – Art

Students seeking teaching licensure in art at the elementary or secondary level should consult with the education department regarding specific requirements in each area.