Department Chair: Samuel Johnson

Faculty: Carol Brash, Richard Bresnahan (Artist-in-Residence), Mary Johnson (Adjunct), Samuel Johnson, David Paul Lange OSB, Rachel Melis, Scott Murphy, Simon-Hòa 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, book arts, papermaking, computer art, photography, and video. 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 in studio art courses, a final critique is held with the instructor and student to assess the student’s progress.

Portfolio reviews are made to assess the student’s growth within their course of studies.

Acceptance to Major Requirements

Course Requirements:  ART 248
Minimum Grade and/or GPA for required courses:  Passing grade in ART 248 


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

Concentration in Studio Art (48 credits)

The studio art major allows students to combine a liberal education with preparation for entry into careers as exhibiting artists, designers, elementary or secondary school teachers, or other art-related fields, such as advertising, marketing, illustration, museum/gallery curation, criticism, writing/reporting, as well as for graduate school in studio art, art history, design, architecture, landscape architecture, or art therapy.

Required Courses:
118, 119, 230, 248, 260, 300, 344, 351, 352; three studios chosen from the 200 and 300 studio courses, with at least four credits at the 300 level, for a total of 12 credits.

Special Requirements:

Prerequisites for ART 351: all 100 and 200 level requirements for the major

Prerequisites for ART 344 Critical Theory: ART 300 Modern and Contemporary Art History

A senior exhibition is required for graduation

Concentration in Art Education (52-55 credits)

Required Courses:
118 or 119, 230 ir 260, 219, 248, 300, 344, 351, 355

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 ceramics), painting, graphic arts (including photography, or printmaking) or computer graphics (including computer art and 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 (24 credits)

Required Courses:
118, 119; 12 credits in elective studio, with at least 4 credits at the 300 level; four credits in Art History.

Art History Minor (24 credits)

Required Courses:

  • ART 230 (4 credits); can double count if student is an Art Major
  • ART 260 (4 credits); can double count if the student is an Art Major (ART 240H counts for this)
  • 4 credits in studio arts can double count if the student is also an Art Major
  • A minimum of 8 credits in upper division (300 level) Art History courses cannot double count if the student is also an Art Major.
  • 4 additional credits that can be lower or upper division Art History credits cannot double count if the student is also an Art Major.

Other frequently offered Art History courses:

  • ART 300 Modern and Contemporary Art (required for Art majors)
  • ART 309 East Asian Gardens
  • ART 310 Photography in China (is still listed as Art 240F)
  • ART 344 Critical Theory (required for Art majors)
  • Some study abroad courses offer Art History courses

Other things to know:

  • If you want to do an Art History major, contact Carol Brash [email protected] about an individualized major in Art History
  • If you have burning desire to study a particular artist, period, medium, etc. – propose an Individualized Learning Project to Carol Brash [email protected]
  • Each spring, there is a symposium in Minneapolis showcasing the work of undergraduate and graduate students in Art History.  The deadline for each school to sign up a representative is usually near the end of November, so if you are interested, talk to Carol Brash before October (and look for the announcement, usually in October).
  • If you entered before F 2018: ART 108 and ART 208 can count for either Art 230 or Art 260

Book Arts Minor (24 credits)

Required Courses:
ART 118, 239, 397, HIST 374

At least two of the following electives (8 credits): ART 218, 224, 227, 233D (Artist Books), 233F (Handmade Paper), 271/371 (ILP, only one allowed, 4 credits), ENGL 213/313, 315.

ILPs and Internships must be approved by the Book Arts Coordinator. (In some cases, an ILP or Internship may also be done through the English Department.)

Note: Art Minors: can use ART 118 to fulfill requirements in both minors. English Majors/Minors: can double-count one English class to fulfill requirements.

Courses (ART)