BFA Degree

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The 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is designed to combine a solid, substantial foundation of technical and conceptual skills in the visual arts with the critical thinking and communication skills essential for success in today’s complex art world.  It offers the following four majors:

Drawing with Painting or Sculpture Minor

The 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Drawing explores drawing as an art form in its own right, rather than as a mere preparatory or training tool.  Artistic means of expression and conveyance that are both unique to drawing and that spark creative innovation are studied and practiced in a progressive sequence of courses and opportunities for independent work. The Drawing major comprises 39 drawing credits in total; in earning these credits students gain the ability to demonstrate fluidity and flexibility in the use of the conventions of drawing while also seeking to expand its artistic boundaries. In addition to required course work, Drawing majors earn three credits in printmaking, three credits in 3rd year independent work, and nine credits in 4th year Senior Studio, in connection with which work is created for inclusion in the Senior Exhibition. Drawing majors must choose to minor in Painting or Sculpture which will entail taking 15 credits of predetermined courses and 6 credits of electives in either one of those department, plus 6 required studio elective credits in any department of their choosing.

Illustration

The 120-credit Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Illustration develops each student’s ability to create compelling and effective visual communication through a solid grounding in drawing, design, painting, liberal arts, and art history. The development of representational abilities, including those that are essential in life drawing and artistic anatomy, and the effective use of color provides the Illustration major with the skills necessary to develop a personal vision as an artist and communicator. Specialized Illustration courses focus on the development of each student’s ability to convey information, tell stories and express ideas through image making. Further skill development includes idea generation, professional collaboration, and digital production. Technology is integrated into the curriculum as a means to communicate, create and collaborate, alongside and in conjunction with traditional art-making processes. Professional planning, production and presentation skills are advanced throughout the program, as well as an understanding of Illustration and its companion industries. Content is structured in an ordered sequence to progressively develop student comprehension and mastery. Elective courses and independent studies with the College’s skilled faculty enable students to augment the core curriculum to advance individual areas of interest, including printmaking, digital image manipulation, animation and video.

Painting

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Painting offers students the opportunity to develop a distinct, artistic voice through a sequenced curriculum.  This program focuses on the acquisition of traditional skill-based proficiencies in its early stages, and then progresses to address those that pertain to artistic ideation, context and content.  This artistic journey begins in the introductory courses in drawing, painting, sculpture and design that are offered as part of the Foundation Program, where students gain proficiency in interpreting the visual world through the formal languages of line, value, shape, color and texture. Students progress to a study of the formal complexity, historic relevance and visual power of the human figure while also learning to address over-arching design and compositional principles.  In addition, in order to foster students’ critical facilities and to expand their capacity for idea generation and integration, the Painting program regularly provides opportunities for its students to experience the stimulation of the artistic and intellectual life of nearby cities.

Sculpture

The Sculpture major develops students’ knowledge of and proficiency in sculptural practice based on the observation of nature including the human figure. Supported by the cultivation of craftsmanship, individual initiative, creativity, and the ability to interpret ideas through artistic expression, the program leads students to understand historical and contemporary examples of sculpture and to integrate that knowledge into studio practice. Informed by increasing proficiency in life drawing, knowledge of anatomical structure, and an understanding of three-dimensional composition, students demonstrate their ability to articulate forms, in the round and in relief, and to produce robust and compelling sculptures.

The programs listed below all form an integral part of the four majors:

Foundation Program

This program provides all entering BFA students with a common first year experience that prepares them for a successful transition to their sophomore year and choice of major. The program develops fundamental artistic proficiencies in drawing, painting, sculpture, color, and design based on the observation of nature including the human figure. Students successfully completing the Foundation curriculum are able to demonstrate a consistent level of basic competencies including an understanding of visual arts principles and the ability to translate the observed environment into drawn, painted, and sculpted form with a reasonable degree of technical skill and vivacity.

New Student Seminars

The New Student are a year-long non-credit series of presentations that give additional educational focus to students’ preparation for collegiate success and professional life. Topics include “netiquette”, intellectual property and academic integrity, health and safety in the studio, and library and research skills.

Liberal Arts

The Liberal Arts component of the BFA program develops in students a rich understanding of the cultural, social, historical, and scientific context of the world in which they live.  Courses in Liberal Arts are designed to be intellectually engaging to the developing artist, emphasizing the development of each student’s critical thinking and communication skills. The Liberal Arts program also offers an Art History Minor.

Art History Minor

Through a combination of the required art history courses and additional electives in art history, students develop a more sophisticated understanding of various periods, artists and themes. This is particularly valuable for students who are considering working in galleries, museums, or attending graduate school.