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    Art Major and Minor

    Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

    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 cultureOur 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 (IDA)

    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 rather, 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 Family Design Research 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 and 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 Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Museum.


    A student majoring in art may concentrate in art history, art studio, integrative design and architecture (IDA), or museum studies. An art major requires a minimum of 14 units.

    Art History Concentration

    The art history concentration consists of 14 units: 10 units of art history, and four units of art studio. The 10 art history courses shall include an introductory course (either one or two units), six or seven elective AH courses and a two-block senior capstone experience (AH412, NY trip/Senior Seminar, and AH415, Senior Thesis) taken in the fall of senior year.

    Five of the AH electives must be at the 200 level or above. Majors are strongly encouraged to choose a broad range of courses, both chronological and geographical, exploring the department’s offerings in both western and global cultures.

    Art Studio Concentration

    The Art Studio Concentration consists of four units of art history, eight electives in art studio, and 2 units of senior seminar (AS411 NY Trip and AS411 extended format thesis work.) Selected courses may be repeated for credit with consent of instructor.

    Integrative Design and Architecture Concentration

    The Integrative Design and Architecture Concentration (IDA) in the Art Major requires five units of art studio, four units of art history, three units from other departments, and a two-unit senior capstone project.    

    The three electives from outside the Art Department may be taken in environmental science, physics, performance design, political science, sociology or other relevant disciplines chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor. Courses must be approved by the advisor in advance.

    The two-block capstone includes senior seminar (AH412 or AS411) and a thesis project (AS411.1 and 411.2 or AH415). The thesis should demonstrate a thoughtful synthesis of the student's coursework.  It may take the form of a studio exhibition, a written thesis, a public presentation, or a combination.

    • Five units of Art Studio recommended from this list:

                AS102 Art Studio Foundations: 2-D Design

                AS103 Art Studio Foundations: Drawing

                AS110 Art Studio Foundations: Topics: When courses are focused on design topics

                AS114 Art Studio Foundations: 3-D Design

                AS207 Technical Drawing

                AS210 Intermediate Topics in Studio Art:  When courses are focused on design topics

                AS210 Intermediate Topics in Studio Art:  GeoDesign (also EV260/GY250)

                AS212 Design Workshop 

    (Relevant courses abroad:  e.g. DIS in Copenhagen, Syracuse in Florence, Temple University in Rome)

    • Three electives other relevant disciplines in consultation with the Art Department.  Courses must be approved by the Art Department.
    • Capstone: A two-block capstone, including Senior Seminar (AH412 or AS411) and a thesis project (AS411 or AH415). The thesis may take the form of a studio project/proposal with an architecture, urbanism, landscape design focus, and a written discussion and public presentation, or it might be a written thesis on a related topic.


    Museum Studies Concentration

    The Museum Studies Concentration requires five units of art history, three units of art studio, two units of museum studies, two electives appropriate to the student’s course of study, and a two-unit senior capstone project (AH412 and AH415 or 416).  


    • Five units of Art History:


    Introductory art history course, one or two units (Introduction to Art History or other comparable one or two block course.)


    200/300 Level art history courses, three or four units (three units if the introductory course is two blocks; four units if the introductory course is one block)


    • Two units of Museum Studies:


    GS247 Introduction to Museum Studies

    GS273 Museum Collections Management: History, Ethics and Practice


    Courses with a significant museum studies component or directed independent study chosen in consultation with an advisor.


    • Three units of Art Studio from this list:


                    AS102: Art Studio Foundations:  2-D Design

                    AS103 Art Studio Foundations:  Drawing

                    AS114: Art Studio Foundations: 3-D Design

                    AS207: Technical Drawing

                    AS212: Design Workshop


    • Two electives: In consultation with their advisor, students, depending on their interests, choose two electives appropriate to administration, conservation, design, education, anthropology or sociology from a current list.  Courses to count towards the major must be approved in advance by the advisor. 


    • Capstone: A two-block capstone comprising the one-block Senior Seminar course (AH412) and a Senior Thesis course (AH 415 or AH416).  The capstone project may take the form of a thesis, exhibition, or special internship project, developed in consultation with the student’s advisor. A limited number of internships will be offered at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Museum. 


    Other Information

    AP credit in art history cannot be counted towards the major, but students who receive AP credit may, in consultation with the department, substitute upper-level courses for an introductory survey. Students who receive a score of 5 on the art history AP exam may receive one unit of general studies credit.


    The Art Department offers two minors, one in art history and one in studio art.

    Art History Minor (Six units)

    The art history minor consists of six units, five art history units--at least three at the 200 or 300 level--and one unit of studio art (at the 100 level or at a more advanced level with the permission of the instructor). Only Colorado College courses may count towards the minor, which is open only to non-art majors. The introductory courses provide a broad chronological and geographical introduction, with some methodological focus.  More advanced classes encourage concentrated and/or comparative study in one or more areas or periods. The unit of studio art is in keeping with the philosophy of the Art Department that serious study of art history must involve some direct experience of studio art.

    Art Studio Minor (Six Units)

    The art studio minor consists of six units, including five studio art units and one unit in art history. Three of the studio art units must be above the 100 level. Only Colorado College courses may count towards the minor, which is open only to non-art majors. The initial 100-level units provide both a conceptual and technical introduction to studio practices. The remaining units allow the student to investigate specific disciplines, such as painting, sculpture, photography, or printmaking, at a more advanced level. The unit of art history is in keeping with the philosophy of the department that serious study of studio art must involve some knowledge of art history.