Information presented from the 2023 - 2024 Academic Catalog.
In Studio Art we foster independent and creative thought, emphasizing art-making as a means of thinking about not only oneself, but our relationship to the world of ideas from multiple perspectives. We offer two degree programs in Studio Art, a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of fine arts (BFA). Both degree programs emphasize technical skills and critical thinking, interdisciplinary work, collaboration and community. We encourage the fluidity of learning and see art as a bridge to all areas of study and research. The BA and the BFA prepare students in different ways for a variety of post-graduate pursuits, be it graduate school or professional endeavors in art and related fields. Students who plan to major in Studio Art are strongly advised to seek an advisor in Studio Art at the time of their decision to major. Studio Art majors are required to take a series of core courses and students need to work closely with advisors to complete these core courses by end of the first semester in their junior year. Students should expect to work two hours per week outside of class for each credit hour of a course. For students to whom off campus study is an option, we transfer up to 4 courses from an off-campus study experience towards the major, pending approval from the Chair.
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.
Our BA students are encouraged to connect their Studio Art major with the curriculum of the college to realize individual approaches to Studio Art that are interwoven with science, social science, humanities and/or other fine arts disciplines. A total of 48 credit hours are required, with ten courses coming from Studio Art and two courses from Art History and Visual Culture, or alternatively, one course from Art History and Visual Culture and one course from Philosophy (see description below).
- 12 courses (48 Credit Hours) total: 10 Studio Courses: 4 core courses to be completed by the end of first semester Junior Year:
- ARTS 101 - Studio Art Foundation OR ARTS 110 - Introduction to Drawing (or ARTS 170 - Introduction to Drawing for Majors),
- one 2D course,
- one 3D course
- and one Time-based course (such as photo, video, performance art, animation or a web-based studio course).
- One 200 level studio elective.
- One semester of Junior Practicum.
- Senior Year:
- ARTS 401 - Visual Arts Practicum plus a 300-level studio course or independent study in the fall semester, Senior year;
- ARTS 401 - Visual Arts Practicum plus a 300-level studio course or independent study in the spring semester, senior year. (Senior BA Studio Art majors are required to take ARTS 401 - Visual Arts Practicum during each semester of the senior year in conjunction with either a 300-level course or an independent study in an area of studio concentration. All 300-level courses are repeatable.)
- Art History and Visual Culture/Theory Courses: Art History and Visual Culture/Theory electives should be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor. Students may choose any two Art History and Visual Culture courses, or one Art History and Visual Culture course, and PHIL 269 - Philosophy of the Arts: Aesthetics, to fulfill this requirement.
- All Studio Art majors (B.A. and B.F.A.) are required to participate in the group Senior Exhibition and are required to give a Gallery Talk in conjunction with the Senior Exhibition.
Studio Art Major (B.F.A.)
Students pursuing a BFA degree should discuss their intentions with a member of the Studio Art faculty as soon as possible. Students are required to apply to the BFA program in the first semester of their Junior year by presenting artwork made at Denison in an exhibition with fellow applicants. Prospective BFA candidates will then be required to meet at the exhibition with the Studio Art faculty for a discussion of their work and their reasons for pursuing the BFA degree. Upon acceptance into the BFA program, the department will notify the Registrar. BFA students are also subject to periodic review of their studio work by the Studio Art faculty. A total of 72 credit hours are required, with a minimum of fourteen courses coming from Studio Art and three courses from Art History and Visual Culture. Students may then choose one more elective from either Studio Art, Art History and Visual Culture or PHIL 269 - Philosophy of the Arts: Aesthetics.
- 18 Courses Total:
- Five core courses to be completed by the end of 1st semester Junior Year:
- One semester of Junior Practicum.
- five electives:
- two 200 level studio electives,
- one 300-level studio elective or independent study
- and one more 200 or 300-level elective or directed study.
- The final elective may come from either Studio Art, AHVC or PHIL 269 - Philosophy of the Arts: Aesthetics
- NOTE: ARTS 110 - Introduction to Drawing / ARTS 170 - Introduction to Drawing for Majors cannot be used to fulfill the 2D course requirement for the BFA.
- Senior Year:
- ARTS 401 - Visual Arts Practicum plus ARTS 451 - Senior Research – in the fall semester Senior year.
- ARTS 401 - Visual Arts Practicum plus ARTS 452 - Senior Research – in the spring semester, Senior year.
- (Senior BFA Studio Art majors are required to take ARTS 401 - Visual Arts Practicum during each semester of the Senior year in conjunction with one year of senior research that will culminate in a solo or 2-person exhibition and an oral defense with a committee of 3 faculty "readers"). BFA candidates are required to meet with each committee member at least twice over the course of their Senior year before the final defense, which takes place in the exhibition. Students are also required to produce their own written catalog/extended artist statement as part of their exhibition, articulating their thesis and key elements of their process.
- Art History and Visual Culture/Theory Courses: Three Art History and Visual Culture/Theory courses should be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor. Students may choose any three Art History and Visual Culture courses.
- BFA students follow the college-wide General Education course requirements.
- All Studio Art majors (B.A. and B.F.A.) are required to participate in the group Senior Exhibition and are required to give a Gallery Talk in conjunction with their BFA solo Senior Exhibition.
Studio Art Minor
A minimum of six courses (five in Studio Art and one in Art History and Visual Culture) should be taken as follows:
- ARTS 101 - Studio Art Foundation,
- four elective Studio Art courses (one elective must be a 200-level Studio course),
- and one AHVC or Art Theory course.