The studio art major provides a conceptual and process-oriented approach to the fine arts. Students take a minimum of seven studio art and three art history courses.* These include two foundational courses, in two- and three-dimensional design. Introductory-level and advanced courses are offered in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and new media, and graphic design. Students are also encouraged to dissolve boundaries between mediums and to explore nontraditional media (you are required to take courses in two or more mediums). Special topics courses in a variety of other media are regularly offered; recent courses have concentrated on book arts, installation art, performance, and video. In addition, students may design and create independent special projects with a faculty sponsor.
In their final semester, all senior studio art majors exhibit their work in a group show in the Wright Museum of Art. The arrangements for the exhibit (including gallery space allocation, publicity, and exhibit installation) are planned in Senior Seminar (ART 384 & ART 385), which equips students with an array of additional professional skills (e.g., how to prepare a résumé and portfolio, how to apply to grad school and for employment, how to document one’s artwork).
While the senior exhibit is on display, two full-time art department faculty conduct an oral examination with each senior. Seniors should personally approach faculty members to request and invite participation on their orals committee. The student is given ten minutes to explain his/her exhibit and art. The faculty members on the orals committee then question the student about the work/exhibit for approximately ten minutes. The final ten minutes are dedicated to reflective and instructional observations by the faculty.
The senior exhibition in the Wright Museum of Art is a privilege and not a right. Students are expected to comply with all policies and procedures set forth by the senior seminar advisor and museum staff. There will be a $100 damage deposit charged to all seniors exhibiting in the museum. This deposit will be returned after all your artwork is removed from the museum and your space is returned back to normal.
* Students may also be certified to teach art in schools (K-12); details can be obtained from the Education and Youth Studies Department at Beloit College.
The art history major challenges students to investigate and analyze art and visual culture with close attention to social and historical contexts, and through comparative cultural study.
As in studio art, the Wright Museum of Art plays an important role in the art history program, effectively functioning as a laboratory. As they work to complete the major, students will enroll in at least one upper-level course that will involve them either in careful study of works of art from the collection; in organizing, researching and curating an exhibit of art (as part of a class or special project); and/or in writing essays and catalogue entries for an exhibition publication. This distinctive feature of our program provides invaluable professional experience. It is the kind of collaborative and experiential learning that is both the hallmark and the essence of Beloit College.
Art history majors take a minimum of eight art history courses, one studio art course, and at least one full year of college-level foreign language; students planning to pursue graduate study are strongly encouraged to take two years of foreign languages and at minimum, acquire a reading comprehension in both.
Two survey courses serve as the foundation to the major. Students may then select five upper-level courses, and either a sixth art history course or a second studio art course. Survey courses are complemented with seminars and special topics courses (ARTH 285 and ARTH 335)*, which are routinely offered on a one-time or occasional basis. Recent topics have included contemporary Native American art; Women and the Book in the Middle Ages; art history and museum practice; American art and visual culture to 1945; and Faith and Power in Byzantium. Students must also take at least one course in Asian art history.
Majors also take Theory and Methods (ARTH 337), which introduces an array of art historical problems and scholarly approaches. This seminar develops and refines critical thinking and writing skills, and it is excellent preparation for graduate study in art history.
*ARTH 285 and ARTH 335 are somewhat (and sometimes necessarily) interchangeable; see your advisor if substitution of one for the other is necessary.