Department Chair: Elaine Rutherford

Faculty: Carol Brash, Richard Bresnahan, James Hendershot, Samuel Johnson, David Paul Lange OSB, Rachel Melis, Scott Murphy, Simon-Hoa Phan OSB, Elaine Rutherford, Andrea Shaker

The art department educates both art majors and non-majors in the theory, practice and history of art. This education involves the understanding of historical development of art in contemporary and past cultures, understanding the critical process used to assess art forms, understanding the meaning and evolution of art theories, understanding the basic concepts related to the structure of forms and understanding the technical aspects of art. This education is intended to prepare students for careers or further education in art. For the non-major, this education provides a preliminary understanding of art forms, the creative process and a beginning ability to employ critical analysis.

The department's studios, located on both campuses, provide facilities for drawing, design, painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, computer art and photography. The Benedicta Arts Center Galleries and Saint John's Art Galleries schedule diverse exhibitions of artwork throughout the year. Special areas are available for exhibition of student work. Visiting artists, speakers, artists-in-residence, field trips and workshops supplement the students' experience of the art world.


Student learning and progress is assessed by means of critiques and portfolio reviews. Each course within the department has a strong component that addresses the critique process. Students learn how to interact with one another and the instructor to determine their strengths, weaknesses and how they might achieve better results in their work. At the conclusion of each semester’s work, a final critique is held with the instructor and student to assess the student’s progress.

Portfolio reviews are made to determine the student’s readiness to enter the major and/or to assess the student’s growth within her/his course of studies.


The art department offers a concentration in studio art, and minors in art history and art education.

Concentration in Studio Art (45 credits)

The studio art major allows students to combine a liberal education with preparation for graduate school or entry into careers as exhibiting artists, designers, elementary or secondary school teachers and other art-related fields. Students successfully completing the programs are academically prepared to apply for graduate study in studio art. They may plan careers as exhibiting artists, art teachers in secondary or elementary schools, or professionals in various art-related fields.

Required Courses:
101, 118, 119, 248, 300, 344, 351, 355; three studios chosen from the 200 and 300 studio courses for a total of 12 credits, and 4 credits of non-western art history from the 200 and 300 level.

Special Requirements:
A portfolio review precedes admission to the department. A senior exhibition is required for graduation.

Concentration in Art Education (47-55 credits)

Required Courses:
118, 119, 215, 217, 218 or 262, 248, 344, 351, 355, and 208, 200 and 300 level Art History course.

Special Requirements:
Students concentrating in art education are required to have two areas of emphasis which are met by taking additional approved courses in the areas of drawing, sculpture (including jewelry and ceramics), painting, graphic arts (including photography, or printmaking) or computer graphics including digital video.

Students concentrating in art education may receive special credit towards core, and upper-division requirements. Please contact the department chair.

Art Studio Minor (20 credits)

Required Courses:
118, 119; 12 credits in elective studio or art history.

Art History Minor (24 credits)

101, 4 credits in non-Western art history from the 200 level courses, one four-credit course in art studio, a minimum of 8 credits in upper-division (300 level) Art History courses and 4 additional credits that can be lower or upper division Art History credits.

Courses (ART)

Art Studio Courses 100 Level

118 Design: 2D/4D. (4)
Students will explore and apply the elements and principles of two-dimensional and four-dimensional design as well as elements of color design. Students will address the elements and principles of design in part through the consideration of a single theme chosen by the Art Faculty. (Themes might include topics such as identity, place, gender, body, race, culture, spirituality, and environment). The specific theme will change on a yearly basis.

119 Design: 3D/Drawing. (4)
Students will explore and apply the elements and principles of three-dimensional design and drawing as well as elements of color design. Students will address the elements and principles of design in part through the consideration of a single theme chosen by the Art Faculty. (Themes might include topics such as identity, place, gender, body, race, culture, spirituality, and environment). The specific theme will change on a yearly basis. 

Notes: Each of the above courses is offered every semester. Multiple sections are possible depending on enrollment demand. Art majors and art minors are required to take both ART 118 (4) and ART 119 (4) ideally as first year students. Either course can be taken first.

Art Studio Courses 200 Level

214 Drawing I. (4)
An introduction to drawing with an emphasis on techniques, concepts, and the process of visualization. Fall and spring.

215 Painting I. (4)
An examination of painting as object and process. Exploration of techniques, methods and materials in oil media. Fall and spring. Prerequisite: 214 or 118 is highly recommended.

216 Sculpture I. (4)
Technical and conceptual principles of sculpture; renewable media: clay, wood, plaster, and mixed media. Three of every four semesters.

217 Photography I. (4)
Introduction to black and white fine arts photographic practices including darkroom techniques and aesthetic principles. Fall and spring.

218 Computer Art I. (4)
Introduction to the Macintosh platform, digital imaging, and the principles of two-dimensional design. Understanding the computer as a tool for creative expression. 2 of every 3 semesters.

219 Ceramics I. (4)
An introductory course that addresses the development of necessary skills to throw the basic ceramic forms, and prepare work for kiln firing. Students gain a general appreciation of the fine arts. Fall and spring.

220 Jewelry I. (4)
Major and non-major. An introduction to the techniques and aesthetic principles of jewelry design. Addresses the construction of chains, rings, pendants, etc., as well as model-making and casting in sterling silver. Spring.

224 Printmaking I (Intaglio and Relief). (4)
Introduction to the processes of relief and intaglio printmaking. In relief, the drawing and cutting techniques of the wood block. In intaglio, processes including drypoint, line etching, soft ground, and aquatint with emphasis on printing techniques.  Offered irregularly.

233 Topics in Studio Arts: 2D. (2 or 4)
A series of special interest courses offered periodically on topics such as: artists books, the printed book, historical photographic processes, etc.

234 Topics in Studio Arts: 3D. (2 or 4)
A series of special interest courses offered periodically on topics such as: industrial design, architecture, ceramic and mixed media sculpture, installation/site specific art, etc.

248 Sophomore Topics. (4)
A practical seminar for those intending to major in art. Content includes formative portfolio review, help in the process of applying to the major, long-range planning, and experience in the safe operation of power tools and other shop equipment. Fall of sophomore year.

262 Digital Video I. (4)
A practical and theoretical introduction to digital video as an art form and a means of communication. Production includes writing, shooting, lighting and sound recording, while post-production involves editing and distribution on tape, DVD, and the Internet. Fall and Spring.

271 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research and/or creative work at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

Art Studio Courses 300 Level

Note: All 300 Level Studio III courses may be repeated once.

314 Drawing II, III. (4)
An exploration to Life drawing: portrait, figure, landscape and various environments, emphasis on experimentation and integration with other studio experiences. Fall and spring. Prerequisite: 214.

315 Painting II, III. (4)
Advanced individual or group projects under the guidance of the instructor. Every third semester. Prerequisite: 215.

316 Sculpture II, III. (4)
Advance projects in traditional and experimental media. Every fourth semester. Prerequisite: 216.

317 Photography II, III. (4)
Advanced photographic processes, creative explorations and professional techniques. Every third semester. Prerequisite: 217.

318 Computer Art II, III. (4)
Investigations of varied software to learn the usage of interactive multi media and animation in the production of electronic art. Every third semester. Prerequisite: 218.

319 Ceramics II, III. (4)
Emphasis on technical aspects of throwing lids, sets, and larger functional forms, the process of glaze development, kiln stacking and firing, and the aesthetics of form. Every second semester.

320 Jewelry II, III. (4)
Advanced work in casting, fabrication, and stone setting. Experimentation in various media. Spring. Prerequisite: 220.

324 Printmaking II, III (Intaglio and Relief). (4)
The processes of relief and intaglio printmaking. In relief the student learns the technique of drawing and cutting the wood block. In intaglio the student develops skills in the use of drypoint, line etching, soft ground and aquatint with emphasis on printing techniques. It also explores the process of creating a monoprint and making paper. Offered irregularly. Prerequisite: 224 or 225.

333 Topics in Studio Art. (2 or 4)
A series of upper division special interest courses offered periodically on topics such as: installation art, color photography, computer design, industrial design, ceramic sculpture, etc. Prerequisite: varies with topic.

344 Critical Theory. (4)
This course examines in depth the major themes within modern and contemporary art theory and practice. Students will learn and analyze the works of seminal artists, art critics and theorists of the mid-20th century onward through reading, writing, and discussion. Prerequisite: 300.

351 Senior Studio Thesis. (4)
A seminar in which students learn how to develop and present their major thesis. Discuss topic selection, content, and working processes. They will learn to explore and discuss professional practices. Fall. Prerequisite: All 100 and 200 level requirements for the major.

355 Senior Thesis Exhibit. (1)
Final exhibition of body of artwork by senior art majors.  Prerequisite: 351.

362 Digital Video II. (4)
Advanced camera, lighting, sound, and editing techniques. In addition to Final Cut Pro, other advanced software are introduced: After Effects, Pro Tools, and DVD Studio Pro. Prerequisite: 262. Spring.

371 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.

372 Open Studio. (1-12)
An opportunity for the most advanced students to function as professionals. Prerequisites: completion of all major requirements (Required Courses: 113, 114, 211, 248, 351; three studios chosen from the 200 and 300 studio courses and art history 101, 4 credits of non-western art history and 300), 300-level course(s) in intended studio concentration and approval of department chair. Fall and spring.

397 Internship. (1-16)
Supervised career exploration which promotes the integration of theory with practice. An opportunity to apply learned skills under direct supervision in an approved setting. Prerequisites: approval of the department chair and a faculty moderator, completion of the pre-internship seminar requirement.

398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project. (4)
Required for graduation with "Distinction in Art." Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis program. For further information see HONR 398.

Art History Courses 100 Level

101 Art, Aesthetics and Culture. (4)
This course examines the basic art themes and issues that are cross-cultural and cross-temporal. It will address aesthetics, style, process, materials, subject matter, etc. It is not an historical survey. Pre-requisite for Art 300.  Fall and spring.

Art History Courses 200 Level

200 Environmental Art and Architecture. (4)
This course focuses on a range of issues addressing art, architecture and their relationship to a sustainable environment. Through an analysis of critical theory, students will gain an understanding of the language and critical issues of art, architecture and their impact upon the environment. Through a hands-on approach, students will apply these concepts to make ceramic artwork in the SJU Pottery Studio. By using all native materials, designing through a programmatic structure of indigenous systems, in a sustainable framework the student will parallel architectural and design schematics presented in theory and research to an applied reality. Students will critically analyze readings, will discuss examples of art and architecture and will meet with artists in order to expand their understanding of the relationship between art, architecture and the environment. Spring.

208 Topics in Non-Western Art. (4)
Selected survey of great architecture, sculpture and painting of Asia and other non-Western cultures. A study of artworks in relation to religion, culture, philosophy and geography of the non-Western world.

240 Topics in Art History. (4)
A special interest course offered periodically on subjects or themes such as American Art, World Art, etc.

Art History Courses 300 Level

300 Modern and Contemporary Art. (4)
A survey course tracing the principle movements and theories of art in the Western world from 1850 to the present. "Art 101 is a required prerequisite for art majors.  Open to non-art majors without a prerequisite."  Fall and Spring.

309 Topics in Art History. (2-4)
A series of special interest courses offered periodically on subjects or themes such as Japanese Ceramics, Icons, or Ritual Art.