Progressive Eye to the Future
Denison is a place where differences and individuality are celebrated as we strive to be a residential liberal arts college in a contemporary world. With five faculty positions (and four in Art History), we offer topical and relevant approaches to the teaching of Art, we also encourage the fluidity of learning and see art as a bridge to all areas of study and research. Our art program emphasizes art-making as a means to think about not only oneself, but one’s relationship to the world of ideas from multiple perspectives.
One of the primary goals of our Studio Art Program is to encourage independent and creative thought. In our courses, students will find ample opportunities to examine and reflect on the world around them with curiosity and a critical eye. As well as being creative, our students are hard workers and are always active in the department. You can walk through our studios late at night and find our students working on projects round the clock.
Our graduates are high achievers. We have studio graduates studying in graduate schools across the country and working as professional artists, designers, art therapists and architects. Many of our students go on to work in the realms of fashion, advertising, media and commercial art. We often encourage our BA students to consider doing a double major and find ways to make connections between the subject matter in their other major and their artwork. We offer small classes with a lot of personal attention, particularly for majors.
We also offer students a variety of ways to approach art activity with faculty and the community. Students work in our museum, some on art exhibitions of works taken from our extensive permanent collection, others with visiting artists - helping to install shows of their work. As a part of our goal of having students work closely with faculty, we have created several student jobs in the department, ranging from research assistants to teaching assistants who help faculty in their studio classrooms. Our dynamic Studio faculty exhibit their work nationally and internationally in a variety of venues. We all have studios in the art building or in town, near to campus so our students see first-hand the work that their instructors are making.
Visiting Artist Series
The department is fortunate to have a very active Visiting Artist Program. In recent years the Vail Visiting Artist program has enabled us to host well-known artists from a variety of disciplines. Visiting artists present their work in public lectures, demonstrations during the creation of an original work of art or through an exhibition in one of our galleries. Many visiting artists spend significant time with students through one-on-one meetings and critiques. We have had visiting curators put together group exhibitions of contemporary artists in our galleries bringing a variety of contemporary work to our campus.
Annual New York Trip
We take our senior majors on an annual fall trip to New York City to experience a wide range of art in person and to visit working artists in their studios. The Studio Art program organizes trips in the spring for all our students to travel to other major cultural destinations to see art first hand. Field trips to nearby Columbus (home of The Wexner Center of Art and the Columbus Museum of Art) happen frequently in our classes. We have school vans scheduled the first Saturday of every month to take our students to the Columbus Gallery hop. Columbus is only a 35 minute drive from Granville.
Working Beyond the Denison Campus
Beyond the campus our students have participated in prestigious internships through the Denison Internship Program and the Michele Myers Internships in the Fine Arts. Students consistently are accepted into competitive study abroad programs around the world with special emphasis on studio art and art history. Students have studied art in places such as Australia, Mexico, Italy, Senegal, Copenhagen and Japan. We have had students accepted into study abroad programs at Goldsmith College, Burren College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie - all internationally renowned art schools. Other students participate in the New York Arts Program and The Philadelphia Center as interns with artists or in museums, galleries or community centers. Still, other students have participated in the Denison Internship Program. Our faculty are leaders for the Deuce (Denison Experience in Urban Culture and Expression), a First Year Studies pre-orientation program in Philadelphia aimed at students interested in the arts and visual culture. The department also gives academic credit for a variety of in-term and summer internships. We have had students intern at the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Sotheby’s, ABC News, Marvel Comics and the Columbus Museum of Art, to name a few.
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.