Studio Arts

The Studio Arts program fosters a rigorous and experimental approach to art making, while encouraging students to pursue their creative commitments in the studio and in the world. In this broad-based and interdisciplinary program, students develop their creative, critical, and practical skills

Working in the context of a research university prepares students to respond to the complexity of possibilities facing the contemporary artist. The program emphasizes a critical and creative relationship between content and form, an awareness of art historical connections, and engagement with the contexts of creative production.

Studio Areas

Painting and Drawing

Painting and Drawing courses explore the contemporary practice of image-making technologies within a media culture. Historical techniques for spatial representation are taught alongside contemporary and conceptual approaches. In the introductory undergraduate curriculum, study of formal elements provides students with a vocabulary for problem-solving and experimentation, and for critical thinking about visual culture. An understanding of materials and historical techniques further aids in achieving control over creative outcomes and the poise to capitalize on the unexpected. Field trips to DC's numerous museums and galleries and guest artist visits generate material for discussion about contemporary context and working practice. Critique and discussion foster independent thinking, experimentation, and interdisciplinary inquiry, and students frequently integrate interests from other areas of study into their work.


Our rapidly burgeoning program is centered on the contemporary practice of Sculpture, where interdisciplinary practice, object-making, installation, performance and new media are all encouraged and nurtured. Multiple fabrication techniques are taught, and we focus equally on craft, concept, and execution. The projects our students are encouraged to explore run the gamut, and the ethos we promote is experimental and collaborative in nature.


The Ceramics program provides an environment where students develop their conceptual foundation while producing work at a professional level of craftsmanship. We concentrate in fostering an understanding of sculptural and wheel thrown ceramics forms, but also have the facilities for industrial design, slip casting, and mosaic making. We push our students to integrate both quality and creativity in their pursuit to create aesthetic and technically developed forms.


The Photography program stands with one foot grounded in the traditional black and white chemical darkroom and the other foot firmly placed in the ever-changing digital environment. The technical skills and basic design principles taught at the introductory level and reinforced at the intermediate and advanced levels are viewed as the foundation upon which more complex and experimental projects are realized. Students are asked to demonstrate an understanding of the historical traditions of photographic practice that informs their work; yet equally relevant, they are challenged to place their photographic practice within a variety of contemporary contexts.

New Media

The New Media area offers courses that explore the intersection of art, technology, and society. Production and analysis are often present in the same course, allowing students to become technically proficient and thinking media makers. The area offers courses in electronic and time-based arts, including digital image production, creative distribution, video, sound, and performance. Students study digital media from variety of perspectives. Interdisciplinary practice is at the core of the area, and students are supported in making connections with work in photography, installation, and painting/drawing as well as to their academic studies.