Studio Art Learning Outcomes

“Custom education and fashion form the transient standards of mortals.” (Science and Health 24:12-13) Each course offered in The Department of Art and Art History at Principia is designed to help students rise above those transient standards to begin to perceive the real substance of “expression, form, outline, and color” as defined by Mary Baker Eddy.

Within the liberal arts setting, the art program at Principia College fosters an understanding of a creative process wholly dependent upon a vibrant thinking process. To help measure the successful relationship of these inter-dependent processes, we look at them through four learning themes. These themes permeate all facets of the art program: they provide structure to the students’ academic experience in art as well as a framework for providing feedback to students about the quality and scope of their developing portfolios. These learning themes apply equally to students taking art courses for career or enrichment purposes.

Character Development

The Department of Art and Art History recognizes that qualities of character are directly related to demonstrating excellence in academics as well as in citizenship. We continually explore the question, “how does character education related to the caliber and context of an artist’s work?” For example, in studio art classes the student is given opportunities to demonstrate discipline, timeliness, honesty, perseverance, ethics, consistency, respect, maturity. Students will:

• Learn to recognize that creativity, inspiration, and ability are spiritual qualities available to everyone.

• Be provided with the opportunity to develop the skill and the humility to both see and behold works of art, to read their message and to enjoy their beauty. 

• Engagement with the healing role of art in a diverse world.

• Articulate a character education statement.

• Discernment of the ethical consequences of decisions and actions.

• Engage with issues of discipline, learning, time management, attitude, stamina, responsibility, respect, maturity…etc.

Communication Skills

Students in The Department of Art and Art History are expected to synthesize, analyze, evaluate, and interpret artistic works from a variety of periods, styles, and cultures. Students will:

• Effectively interpret, communicate, and evaluate information.

• Learn how to analyze visual compositions.

• Articulate the relationship among subject matter, form, content, and


• Demonstrate critiquing skills visually, orally, and/or in writing.

• Demonstrate intellectual agility.

• Transform information into content, and content into judgment and action.

Compositional Skills

Students in The Department of Art and Art History are assigned projects that require a demonstrated understanding of the elements of composition and an ability to articulate fundamental design concepts, including the relationship of form to content and description to interpretation. The heart of the art process cultivates imagination, originality, and problem-solving abilities. Students are taught to recognize the intuitive process and to test it against cognitive analysis. Students will:

• Recognize, understand and work with complex systems of form and composition.

• Apply compositional theory

– Spatial development

– Volume

– Color theory

• Learn to actively engage in the planning process.

• Learn to trust the role of intuition in the creative process.

• Demonstrate the ability to resolve visual problems.

• Explore hand-eye coordination.

• Demonstrate an understanding of technology use.


As a constant challenge to that which is mediocre and mundane, students demonstrate the search for beauty, self-worth, individuality, and quality. Students learn to recognize the essential relationship between concept and craftsmanship. Student portfolios should demonstrate progress toward:

• developing a sensitivity to artistic nuances.

• a growing sense of individuality.

• a maturing facility with media/medium.

• a maturing facility with craftmanship.

• maturing proof of independent decision making.