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Introduction

The Art Major at Colorado College offers an integrative approach to studying the history and practice of art, architecture, design, and museum studies. The major introduces a wide variety of liberal arts students to the history of art and provides opportunities to experience the power of creative processes through making.  Our program is structured to ensure that all majors experience the practice of creating art and are capable of thoughtful analysis of the visual language of works of art.  We hope to prepare our majors for graduate study or careers in the visual arts, but the Art Major also develops visual, analytical, and written skills that qualify students for careers in areas other than the arts.

While students identify an area of concentration to pursue in their thesis projects, we require all majors to demonstrate their holistic understanding of the relationships between works of art and their historical and technical contexts.  Therefore, the major requires students to take courses in art history and art studio, before committing in their junior year, to one of four concentrations for extended study in their senior capstone:

  • Art History
  • Art Studio
  • Integrative Design and Architecture
  • Museum Studies

Students must declare the major and area of concentration by the beginning of their junior year.  It is imperative that each student’s course of study be developed in close consultation with an advisor and approved in advance.  

The senior capstone requires majors to undertake serious and substantive independent work that results in a thesis project.  Students must identify a topic of interest, examine a specific problem and carry out independent research and analysis over an extended time.  The results of this process are expressed through a written paper, exhibition, or both.

“Distinction in Art” is granted by vote of the art faculty to graduating seniors who have done consistently excellent work in all Art Department courses, contributed to departmental activities and presented an outstanding senior project.

The Art Department maintains an active program of events including visiting artists, speakers, workshops, etc. that enrich our classes and also help draw the attention of the campus community to the visual arts. In addition, during Senior Seminar, all senior art majors spend a week in New York City with faculty visiting museums, galleries, artists’ studios, and meeting with alumni. We also offer courses abroad in Paris, Spain, Asia, and elsewhere. The income from the department's endowment, the Harold E. Berg Fund, supports these programs.

Art History

The Art History concentration introduces students to the artistic achievements of human civilizations by studying the visual arts of a variety of cultures in depth.  In the process students will develop a sensitivity to the visual environment.  The study of art history incorporates intellectual, social, economic and political history, thus offering a vivid and tangible introduction to the history and achievements of human culture. Our program is structured to ensure that majors have a general knowledge of art history and are capable of thoughtful analysis of the visual languages of art.  All art history courses emphasize developing skills in research and writing. Art history provides a solid intellectual foundation for students with a variety of interests.

Art Studio

The Art Studio Concentration emphasizes the fundamentals of the visual arts while introducing students to a wide range of traditional techniques, new technologies, experimental practices and visual theory.  Through direct experience, students build a technical skill set and a general knowledge of the visual arts that provide the foundation for undertaking a deeper creative investigation in their thesis projects.  During their studies, students build confidence in technical and creative problem solving, visual analysis and critical discussion.  The experience is enriched by numerous visiting artist lectures, workshops and extended field trips.  We strive to graduate majors who are prepared for future creative work and have a sensitivity to the visual arts that will inform their lives whether or not they choose to pursue further study or careers in the arts.

Integrative Design and Architecture

The Integrative Design and Architecture Concentration emphasizes the study of the built environment in a broad perspective that combines studio work with the study of the history of architecture and its political, social, economic, philosophical and environmental implications.  It is not a narrowly pre-professional major, but provides students with a strong foundation in the visual arts supplemented with multidisciplinary coursework intended to prepare them to use their visual skills in solving problems, communicating ideas and engaging with social and political issues.  This curriculum provides a background that can lead to graduate study in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning among others.  Coursework is supplemented by an active program of workshops and visitors supported by the Conway Design Fund.

Museum Studies

The Museum Studies Concentration introduces students to the theories and practices of the museum while offering an additional lens through which they may understand their study of art history.  The concentration explores the museum as a site for the construction, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge and as a site for examination of issues museums face in today's society.  Coursework is supplemented by visitors from a broad range of museum backgrounds and opportunities to engage with the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Museum.

Packard Courtyard

Packard Hall

5 East Cache La Poudre Street
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903
Office: 719.389.6365
Fax: 719.389.6882

Office Manager:

Guyda Marr
gmarr@coloradocollege.edu