About the Department
As part of a major research university, the Department of Art is committed to excellence, open inquiry and the substantial contributions and potential of creative practice. Situated within the unique environment of the Northwest, the department has a long history of valuing individuality, interdisciplinarity and the power and specificity of place.
We offer an innovative art curriculum reflecting contemporary practices. Students and faculty employ a fluid continuum of practices – using old and new media in surprising ways to speak to compelling questions. The department fosters breadth and interdisciplinary engagement, along with depth and discipline within media. The curriculum encompasses a broad range of media including ceramics, digital arts, drawing, fibers, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Within and across these media, students encounter diverse practices including video, installation, letterpress, performance, alternative materials and processes and emerging technologies. Emphasis is on the inextricable linkage of making and thinking, of material and technical skills with conceptual and critical understanding.
As actively practicing artists themselves, faculty members are able to model and communicate to our students the compelling rigors and rewards of creative inquiry. Deeply engaged in their own practices and exhibiting nationally and internationally, faculty are contributing to current developments in the field and sharing that experience with their students. This commitment to artmaking as an ongoing practice and open inquiry is central to all levels of our teaching, from the introduction of a non-major through the graduate program.
With around 500 majors and 30 graduate students, the Art Department is a robust community, but with small studio classes and clusters of activity around different shops, students form strong relationships and have an individualized experience. The Department offers two different majors at the BA/BS degree level, Art and Digital Arts. The professional baccalaureate degree, the Bachelors of Fine Arts degree requires an additional, fifth year of studio intensive work. For the BFA degree, students major in a specific media area. At the graduate level, the Masters of Fine Arts is the terminal professional degree in Art. Through Arts & Letters group-satisfying courses and access to studio offerings for non-majors, the department is also committed to the contribution of studio art to a liberal arts education.