Art history and studio art offer two separate but complementary programs of study.
Art history, an essential part of the liberal arts curriculum, is an amenity needed by every educated person whether for professional ends, as an entrée to business negotiations, or as an investment in a life-enhancing means of exploring cultural artifacts.
Art history courses trace the innovations, aspirations, and achievements of individuals and groups as well as the significance of paintings, sculptures, architecture, and other visual art. Besides enlarging students’ understanding of the precious nature of their cultural heritage worldwide, art history sharpens each student’s capacity to discern between valid and invalid imagery in our culture. It offers a career path to graduate work and careers in teaching, curatorial work, museum education programs, publishing, arts management, and a range of other culturally productive activities. Above all, it opens the eyes of every student to the beauty and meaning in the built environment around them.
Courses in studio art place specific emphasis upon the process of making art, the qualities that support being productive artists in society, and the role art plays in enriching the individual. Studio courses emphasize character development, experience with varied media, an understanding of foundational concepts of compositional form, development of individual creative skills, service to society and global awareness, and the pursuit of excellence.
The Art and Art History department highly recommends participation in a Principia abroad program that allows students to experience original art firsthand. Internships are available locally, nationally, and internationally, and are strongly encouraged for those interested in graduate work in museum studies of any type.