Department of Art and Art History

Studying art at Agnes Scott is a unique experience. As an art or art history major or minor, you’ll experience ways that studio art and art history complement and inform one another. You’ll also distill concepts from many other fields of study—including history, literature, science, anthropology and social justice. These interdisciplinary concepts will coalesce to inspire your creative process, whether in studio practice or art-historical scholarship. Not only will you develop technical understanding and hone analytical skills, but you will also learn to think critically, act creatively and communicate articulately, giving you a strong advantage in your future pursuits.

Before you graduate, you will experience vibrant art events on and off campus, meet key figures in the art world in Atlanta, develop your own practice within a dynamic and diverse community of scholars and deliver public presentations on contemporary art.

Mission

The program in art and art history recognizes the inherent expressive value of art, its enrichment of the human experience, and the dependence of global culture on visual literacy.

Our curriculum challenges students to create, read, and analyze images through written and oral communication, critical thinking, and experiential learning.

Our mission speaks strongly to the process of creativity, rather than the product. Through a collaborative approach to teaching and learning, we offer an integrated program that compels students to consider the practices required of professional artists and art historians.

We create an environment that empowers students to hone their individual expression, engage in a productive dialogue with their peers, and contribute significantly to the world at large.

Art History
With an art history major or minor, you will trace the role that art plays across different eras and cultures. The foundation of the major is a semester-long introduction to art history that serves as a springboard to upper-level courses on various themes and chronological periods.

Major Student Learning Objectives - Students graduating with an Art History major from Agnes Scott College will be able to:

  • demonstrate written communication skills (use appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary, organize ideas to support a position, identify a subject and formulate a thesis, document sources according to accepted professional style, and situate work within literature on topic and within field);
  • demonstrate critical thinking skills (compose through visual analyses, render an objective description of a work of art, situate work within historical context, analyze a scholarly argument, and translate concepts across fields or mediums);
  • demonstrate oral communication skills (organize an oral argument in logical sequence that will be understood by the audience, use works of art effectively to support an oral presentation, demonstrate professional demeanor, speak clearly in a well modulated tone, and engage the audience, and exhibit good listening skills when others are speaking);
  • demonstrate process and practice skills (demonstrate knowledge of materials, integrate knowledge, practice, and application, demonstrate technical literacy, take responsibility for direction of education, and articulate areas of future development or inquiry);
  • embrace experiential learning: moving beyond our classrooms (Cross-register through ARCHE, enroll in other national programs, participate in Study Abroad, and undertake experiential learning on campus in the Dalton Gallery or other campus events/experiences, off-campus with artists, galleries, museums, and other venues, and connect with the larger art world locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally).

Studio Art
With a studio art major or minor, you will be introduced to a variety of media including printmaking, drawing, digital art, painting and sculpture. Advanced studio workshops will encourage you to combine different media, expanding your range of expression.

Major Student Learning Objectives - Students graduating with a Studio Art major from Agnes Scott College will be able to:

  • see and think creatively. Students acquire and develop visual ideas within an interdisciplinary liberal arts context, transforming their visual explorations into artworks that communicate their ideas and reflect their explorations;
  • demonstrate skills with materials and techniques. This is accomplished through courses such as photography, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, painting, video, etc., which enable students to discover connections and how these media provide means to express their ideas in a visual manner;
  • demonstrate a high level of proficiency in drawing. Students come to an understanding of how drawing relates to all media as a problem-solving tool that can then be used to produce art in different media;
  • communicate the language of art, including the aesthetic principles that govern composition. Students learn to effectively communicate their personal ideas through an ordering process which can be broken down into definable compositional design principles;
  • successfully integrate the creative process into a Senior Thesis. Students are required to demonstrate their ability to conduct original research, develop a point of view, synthesize their ideas through a strong understanding of a particular material emphasis, and exhibit their resulting Senior Thesis project prior to graduation;
  • demonstrate art historical literacy. Required art history courses assure students understand cultural and historical issues that surround and influence contemporary art production;
  • communicate effectively as Studio Artists. Studio courses introduce written communication in the arts while the Writing for Artists course provides a specific structure for students to learn about and demonstrate professional writing practices in the arts.

Other Unique Program Features:
  • The City of Atlanta
    For an artist, the world is her medium, the city her canvas. Agnes Scott’s proximity to the city of Atlanta promises rich cultural offerings. Visits to the many galleries, museums and artists’ studios in the metropolitan area will complement your course of study.

  • The Dana Fine Arts Building
    You will have the opportunity to showcase your work and experience a stimulating variety of exhibits in the Dana Fine Arts Building. Designed by John Portman, the building incorporates individual and class studio spaces; a digital design lab; a multi-media lecture hall; Winter Theatre and The Dalton Gallery. The gallery hosts shows of historical and contemporary art works and incorporates at least one student exhibition each year.

  • International Opportunities
    The art department encourages you to participate in faculty-led Global Awareness or Global Connections programs as well as semester-long and year-long opportunities abroad to study studio art and art history. There is no substitute for seeing great works of art in person. The artist’s eye and spirit draw inspiration from such exposure, which persists through a lifetime.

What can I do with this degree?
  • Work in a museum
  • Work as a gallery coordinator
  • Become a professional artist or designer
  • Work as a book illustrator
  • Become an interior or industrial designer
  • Teach art at the primary or secondary school level
  • Pursue an advanced degree to become a professor

About Us

We are a small studio art program, and we use that to our advantage with students receiving consistent personalized input into their work. With one prerequisite foundational class for all other studio areas, students then go on to take classes in printmaking, sculpture, drawing, digital imaging and painting.

The art history program moves through four different levels of courses in which classes are specific in terms of content and honed in terms of skills, culminating in the Art History Senior Seminar which is taught alongside the Advanced Studio, the capstone course in studio. We bridge the studies of art and art history most consistently and formally here, but we also team-teach other courses at lower levels.

We work collaboratively between art, art history and the Dalton Gallery to integrate learning through our unique triad. Through our collaboration and the integration of a liberal arts education students develop a breadth of thought and experience, especially in other disciplines, that enriches the conceptual basis of their work AND their ability to communicate their messages in other media. This includes learning how to write and speak about art – their own and other artists’.