Ivy Distler, Matt Dumon, Hollie Davis (summer scholars 2016) in a group critique looking at Ivy’s photographic work in connection with her double major in Biology.
At Denison, studio art students immerse themselves in the study of art while engaging critically with diverse courses, ideas, professors, and peers. Students try multiple mediums—animation, ceramics, design, painting, performance, photography, printmaking, sculpture, video, and more—developing a breadth of knowledge while recognizing the importance of finding depth within making and thinking.
Denison’s Studio Art program is unique
Interested in learning more about studio art at Denison?
While we would normally offer to host you for a class, due to COVID-19, visit possibilities are currently limited.* We would still love to meet you virtually to discuss Studio Art at Denison. To schedule a chat with a Studio Art faculty member, please contact the Office of Admission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Campus arts tours are available
Our Studio Art program expands the boundaries of what art ‘is’. We emphasize art-making as a means to thinking not only about oneself, but also about one’s relationship to the world of ideas from multiple perspectives. Studio artists gain the knowledge and skills to use art as a way of responding to the constantly changing world.
Pick your path:
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree often double major, finding ways to make connections between the subject matter in their other major and their studio practice.
We are also proud to offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree which allows students to focus with rigor on their practice with a year of dedicated research, culminating in a solo show and thesis.
Our students work one-on-one with visiting artists. Professional artists, brought to campus through the Vail Visiting Artist Series, offer inspiration and exposure to a diversity of practices through talks, workshops and demonstrations. Visiting artists even meet one-on-one with studio art majors in practicum classes to respond to their work and provide new insights.
Our home in the Bryant Arts Center provides a top-tier facility with a wealth of equipment for art-making. From our kilns and welding tools to our dark room and woodshop, our students have an unlimited ability to create.
Denison’s studio art courses are innovative, technically rigorous, and critically engaged. Students gain experience in a wide array of media, including animation, ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and more.
We are committed to the rich dialogue that comes out of contemporary art—to creating environments and courses dedicated to anti-racism and to subverting traditional hegemonies of gender, sexuality, class and origin. Our courses are often cross-listed with other programs (including Queer Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, Black Studies, Latin and Caribbean Studies, and Environmental Studies).
Outside the Classroom
“The New York trip gave me the opportunity to see what a life in art looks like. I was deeply inspired by the artists we visited, and the wisdom they shared with us…. I feel so fortunate to have had a glimpse of this world, as an undergraduate student.”
Senior studio art majors travel on an annual fall trip to New York City to experience art and the life of a working artist through first-hand exposure to the galleries and museums in one of the major art centers of the U.S.
Photo from the Denison Seminar: “Creative Transformations, Art and Literature in the Hispanic World” in La Habana, Cuba where they traveled to explore the art and literature produced there.
The Junior Practicum class also travels to an art destination in the Midwest. In addition, field trips to nearby Columbus (home of The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus Museum of Art, No Place Gallery, the Pizzuti Collection, Friend Collective, ROY G BIV gallery, and other art spaces) happen frequently throughout the school year.
Many studio art students study off campus for a semester or longer. Students often participate in programs with a special emphasis on studio art and art history, in places such as Australia, France, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Senegal, Denmark, and Japan.
Many sophomores and juniors take Denison Seminars, multidisciplinary courses that often include a travel component. Seminars such as “Creative Transformations, Art, and Literature in the Hispanic World,” “Printmaking as Activism,” “Queering the Archive,” and “Shaking, Moving & Drawing,” and have traveled to Appalachia, Cuba, Germany, Japan, and San Francisco.
With support from the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration, Studio Art is currently piloting the Professional Praxis in the Arts program, through which students attain 80 hours of cumulative internship and work experience in the field of art. Opportunities include serving as studio assistants, interning for arts organizations and nonprofits, working for companies or art galleries, conducting research for arts organizations, and/or volunteering with community arts organizations.
Studio art students have interned at the nationally-prominent institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Sotheby’s, ABC News, Marvel Comics, and more. Denison has a long-term relationship with the Columbus Museum of Art, which offers a paid internship for a Denison studio art major in Education and the Arts every summer.
Additional student job opportunities in the Department of Studio Art range from research assistants to teaching assistants who help faculty in their studio classrooms.
Studio art students also participate regularly in Denison’s Summer Scholars program—a summer-long, paid, individual research opportunity that gives students the opportunity to invest in their work without the other demands of classes and deadlines. Students can choose to stay on campus or travel while they work and conduct research under the mentorship of a faculty member.
Art constantly evolves in response to the world. Thanks to the Vail Visiting Artist series, Denison students connect with artists from fresh perspectives every semester. Artists from a myriad of media and experiences come to campus and meet students in classes, performances, and one-on-one. It’s an invaluable opportunity to learn and absorb from cutting-edge artists of the day.
What do studio art majors do after Denison?
Our graduates are high achievers, and we follow our students careers with pride and support. We have studio art graduates studying in graduate schools across the country, teaching in public and private schools, working as professional artists, designers, art therapists, outreach and activism coordinators, administrators in the arts, architects, and more.
Denison Studio Art students develop an artistic language by acquiring technical and critical capabilities that allow them to appreciate and contextualize their own art practice within a contemporary artistic, social, historical and cultural environment. The curricular structure of our program requires our students to develop a knowledge of multiple disciplines; photography, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, painting and digital technologies. The program emphasizes the need for agility of thinking and making, while also allowing for a depth of exploration in areas that are of interest to the student or their practice. In emphasizing a commitment to thinking and making in plurality of material and thought, we seek to remove the silo mentality of separate spheres. Our students are taught to consider art-making as a means to not only think within and of themselves, but also to contextualize themselves and their work – to place themselves in a historical and contemporary trajectory and take responsibility for being a part of a complex world of ideas and perspectives.
Creative Process Students are exposed to contemporary and historical visual practices through a combination of foundation and higher level courses that demonstrate the fluidity of learning Studio Art in a Liberal Arts context. Demonstrating the breadth and depth of our curriculum, students are expected to initiate and bring to realization creative works in a variety of mediums.
Thinking as an Artist In classes across the curriculum, students are encouraged to see art making as an education in risk-taking, problem solving, collaboration, with the ability to embrace ambiguity with a critical awareness of the world at large. A central learning goal in all our classes is to establish independent artistic thinkers. This goal is addressed in introductory classes, which include both research and final projects for students to realize by working independently. This speaks to the goal of establishing independent creative work.
Critical Inquiry Students become creative thinkers who are able to engage in understanding of critical trends and contemporary artistic discourse in their own work, and as participants in the community of the classroom or program.
Visual Literacy Our students are expected to articulate and understand complex ideas through art and art-making as well as through critique settings, written artist statements and oral presentations. Students develop a body of work through a process of self-actualization that includes critiques, exhibitions, written and oral defense. Our program seeks to ground students’ creative development in larger social, cultural or political discourse.
Active Citizen We strive to create a learning community to not only nurture creative artistic growth but also foster collaborative spirit, awareness of our diverse complex world and ultimately, encourage empathy for others within our students.