While rigorous in design and implementation, the studio art curriculum has been crafted to work within the liberal arts tradition and students are encouraged—even advised—to bring to the creative process the ideas and concepts they have learned in classes offered by other departments across the W&L academic landscape.
A vigorous visiting artist program brings to campus contemporary artists who work closely with students, critique their work and provide special workshops for majors and non-majors alike. Some students take advantage of internship opportunities that connect them with internationally known artists.
The studio art major consists of 12 courses (36 credits) and encourages experience in design, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Additionally, majors must take two courses in the history of art, one of which must focus on modern or contemporary art. Seniors must undertake and complete a specific thesis project, exhibited in Staniar Gallery at the end of Winter Term senior year.
Students majoring in studio art often begin their academic experience by taking 100-level foundation courses in drawing and design. They then move on to introductory classes in sculpture, painting, printmaking and photography. Art history courses are often taken before the end of the junior year to help the studio major recognize—before they begin their thesis work—the trends and currents that have influenced their predecessors and contemporaries in the world of art.
Awards and Prizes
- The Studio Art Thesis Award is awarded to a senior studio art major for outstanding work on their Senior Thesis Studio Project.
- The Studio Art Prize is awarded to a senior studio art major for outstanding work done during their time in the Art Department.
- The Class of 1964 Fine Arts Prize is awarded annually to a junior or senior whom the art faculty identifies as having done the most outstanding work in any area of the fine arts. This award is shared with the Music and Theater Departments.
- The Sally Mann Prize for Photography is awarded annually to an exceptional photography student. This is also a purchase prize, used to acquire a piece of the student’s work created while at W&L. The piece becomes a part of the W&L art collection, and is permanently displayed in the photography area of Wilson Hall.
- The E. Wright Ledbetter Endowment supports student travel and participation in the Society for Photography Education conference.
- The Eileen Small Endowment for Printmaking supports summer opportunities and travel expenses to printmaking-affiliated conferences and exhibits.
- Scholarships awarded annually to students to fund attendance to the Society for Photographic Education National Conference.