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The Art Department offers courses in a variety of studio fields including ceramics, design, drawing, graphics, painting, photography, sculpture. 

The mission of the programs offered by the Art Department is to shape artistic vision and prepare students for a life of experience with visual art through systematic development of their visual sensitivity and technical skills in studio practice. This artistic vision is grounded in the study of art history and expanded through advanced studio work.

The goals for students who participate in Art Department courses are to:

  • Develop an appreciation of the elements of art and the principles of design in artworks.
  • Understand the techniques, art materials, tools and processes used in various media.
  • Understand how viewing and interpreting artworks is enhanced by knowledge of the content of art.
  • Understand art, including their own, in a historical context.
  • Understand art theory as it applies to art history.

Commitment to the Major

Selecting a Major in Art signifies a high level of interest in and commitment to the Visual Arts. Sometimes that interest begins as a love of making: making images or making objects. Through the program of the Major, that interest will be deepened and refined through learning specific techniques and developing skills with a wide range of materials.

The level of commitment needed by students at advanced levels of the Major is substantial. Students are expected to conduct personal research into historical and contemporary artists for inspiration. Students are encouraged to connect the concepts behind their artworks to content from their course work outside of the department, from their personal experience, and as a result of their thoughtfulness and curiosity about the world. As a culminating experience in the Major, students will mount a professional exhibition of a body of personal work and will give a public presentation about their work.

Exhibition Opportunities

In addition the Senior Exhibitions, students are invited to submit their work for the annual juried student exhibition every fall semester. Students work is also displayed throughout McMichael Academic Building including in Room 308, the Poling Room ArtSpace. MC’s downtown performance space, the Fusion Theater, also has gallery space where students showcase their artwork. Some advanced students are invited to exhibit work in the Figge Museum in Davenport, Iowa, as part of the Figge's College Invitational Exhibition. Students also display work in the Buchanan Center for Arts in Monmouth, in the Galesburg Civic Art Center, and in regional and national juried art exhibitions.

Connections to Art History

Majors, Minors and general education students can study the history of art in Art Survey, Contemporary Art, Women, Art and Feminism, and a variety of Special Topics courses including Minimalism, and The Architecture of the Midwest.

Students can enhance their understanding of art history through trips to museums and art-events in Chicago and St. Louis, and through study abroad opportunities. In recent years, the Art Department has organized short academic travel opportunities to England, Italy, and France.

Graduate School Opportunities

Among the graduate schools from which Monmouth College art majors have received advanced degrees are: Bradley University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pratt Institute, the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute, the University of Iowa, the University of California at Berkeley and at Riverside, Michigan State University, the University of Virginia, Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Washington University in St. Louis and Mount Mary College.

Career Opportunities

  • Education
  • Graphic Design (print, web, and video)
  • Restoration and Conservation
  • Gallery Direction and Management
  • Architecture
  • Art Therapy
  • Commercial Photography
  • Photo-Journalism
  • Marketing and Advertising

Recent Monmouth Art Graduates

Xie Wenshu ’09
KaziaLi Design Collaborative

Nina Marini ’13
Digital Advertising Executive
KWQC Channel 6 News

Desi Swanson ’09
Oil Painter
Swanson Studios