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Artists are agents of change.

Engaging your eyes, mind, and hands in the studio art major is about developing your creative skills by working closely with our experienced practitioner-faculty. You’ll express your individual perspective on the world around you through drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, video, and graphic design.

With every work you produce, you’ll place another marker on your path to a creative career. The portfolio you’ll assemble at Clark will enable you to pursue an advanced degree at leading arts and design schools, or begin your career as an artist for diverse industries and institutions, including arts organizations and print, digital, and broadcast media.

Catalog Requirements for:

Why Major in Studio Art at Clark?

The Studio Art Path

Clark studio art majors greatly appreciate anchoring their art studies in a broad liberal arts curriculum, recognizing that a good artist is a good thinker and an engaged citizen. Here you can make connections across disciplines and learn how to use “visual language” to express your ideas, make social commentary, effect change, or celebrate beauty. Students also enthusiastically participate in the cultural life of the campus, city, and region.

Courses in the studio art major offer you an opportunity to engage in the study and practice of visual language. Since art is a way of communicating human experience, you learn both to read this language and to visually represent your own ideas. Training in artistic methods and media is provided in the context of intellectual inquiry and critical analysis.

If your only major will be studio art, you will take 11 studio art courses and three art history courses. If you decide to double-major, eight studio art courses and two art history courses are required.

You begin the major by taking Visual Studies: 2D Design and Color and/or Drawing: Eye, Mind, Hand. These foundation courses introduce you to the nature of visual language and the creative process while encouraging the development of visual expression. After exploring various media, you may concentrate in one area and seek out particular faculty members for personal mentoring. Areas of specialization within studio art include drawing, painting, graphic design, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. You also can study video production, set design, and lighting through related courses in screen studies and theatre arts.

The capstone course for the major, Studio Topics, offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise with an independent project, guided by a faculty member.

Skills you will learn include:

  • Visual communication using various media and tools
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Employing art as an agent of change
  • Aesthetic discernment

Patricia M. Plamondon Undergraduate Award in Visual and Performing Arts
The Patricia M. Plamondon Award is given to juniors and seniors who have demonstrated their talent in and commitment to the arts and for whom the award will serve to enhance their studies, research, or project-related travel. The award is made annually by a vote of the full-time faculty of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

The campus home for studio art majors is Clark’s Traina Center for the Arts, a renovated 19th-century Romanesque Revival building that contains studios for design, painting, drawing, and printmaking; darkrooms for analog photography; and a digital photography lab, equipped with state-of-the-art software and fine-art pigment-based color printers that can accommodate large format images. On-campus opportunities for additional involvement in artistic activity, including ceramics, are available at the University Center’s Craft Studio.  Just over a mile from campus is C. C. Lowell, which has been providing art supplies to local artists since 1852.

Students with a strong commitment to intensive study, and who receive departmental approval, can elect to undertake a senior honors thesis project, which culminates in an exhibition of work in the Schiltkamp Gallery — along with honors consideration — in the final semester. The honors thesis in studio art requires the creation of an original project, with a supporting paper, under the mentorship of a faculty member. Examples of supporting papers include:

  • An Exploration of Art History, Memory, and Contextualization (a discussion of how to read an artwork and its formal presentation as a primary text)
  • Reflections on Dreaming (a meditation of the translation of an abstract idea into a tangible work of art)
  • Stand Still, Close Your Eyes. (an exploration of the conventions of photographic portraiture across time)

Building your foundation

The Clark Experience

We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.

Learn More

Faculty and Programs in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts