Art Department

The Department of Art offers an integrated curriculum of studio and art history courses that teach students how to engage in creative artistic practices and think critically about images in the world. All art courses assume that images are embedded in artistic, social, political, and cultural contexts.

In studio courses students express ideas and experiences through the creation of original artworks. They acquire thorough knowledge of the processes and vocabulary associated with the mediums of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Students also develop problem-solving skills and the capacity for aesthetic judgment in order to express themselves in a creative visual language.

In art history students translate visual experience into written and oral expression. Students gain familiarity with historical traditions, research and curatorial skills, and art historical literature while engaging with images and ideas in the classroom and interacting with objects in the Colby College Museum of Art.

In addition, the Department of Art supports students across the College interested in pursuing courses of study and future careers in the fields of design and architecture. The department offers instruction in 2D and 3D design, architectural history, and a variety of topics related to art and the environment.


Chair, Associate Professor Tanya Sheehan
Professors Sharon Corwin, Bevin Engman, Véronique Plesch, and Ankeney Weitz; Associate Professors Gary Green, Garry Mitchell, Scott Reed, and Tanya Sheehan; Assistant Professors Marta Ameri and Bradley Borthwick; Visiting Associate Professor Daniel Harkett; Visiting Assistant Professor Mariola Alvarez; Faculty Fellow Alison Stigora

Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Studio Art

I. Foundational Studies: 131 or 141

II. Studio Concentration: Four courses in a single medium (painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture)

III. Studio Breadth: Two courses in a medium or media outside the studio concentration

IV. Art History: 101, one 200-level course (photography concentrators must take one history of photography course), one 300- or 400-level course

V. Senior Capstone: 401 and 402 in the fall and spring of a student’s senior year. Each must be taken in conjunction with a studio course in the area of concentration.

Requirements for the Major in Art History

I. Foundational Studies (to be taken early in a student’s course of study): 101, and 131 or 141

II. Historical Breadth (five courses at the 200 or 300 level, of which at least two must be at the 300 level)

One course in each of the following areas:

1: Art before ca. 1300: 201, 215, 225, 273, 313, 323
2: Art ca. 1300-1800: 202, 226, 231, 274, 276, 331, 332, 333, 376
3: Art after ca. 1800: 232, 252, 255, 256, 258, 259, 278, 279, 285, 336, 338, 372

Two additional art history courses at the 200 or 300 level.

Majors should work with their advisors to develop a course of study that covers diverse geographical and cultural content.

A maximum of three courses may be taken off campus or outside the department for credit in the major.

When courses cut across the time periods listed above, the department chair will assign them to an appropriate category for the major. One-time offerings or occasional courses that do not appear in the list above may be included in the major upon approval by the chair.

III. Research Depth: Two seminars at the 400 level

IV. Capstone (in the fall of the senior year): 494

Students planning to continue the study of art or art history in graduate school should confer with their advisors to be sure that they have planned a substantial and adequate course of study. Art history graduate programs generally require reading proficiency in two foreign languages.

For both the art history and studio art majors, the point scale for retention of the major applies to courses taken in the department. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Distinction in the major will be awarded to graduates with a grade point average of 3.5 or above in the major.

Requirements for the Minor in Art

An art minor is available and should be constructed according to the student’s interests and with the advice of an Art Department faculty member. The minor requires at least seven courses: 101, 131 or 141, at least one art history course at the 200 or 300 level, and four additional graded courses in studio and/or art history at the 200 level or above. A maximum of two courses may be taken off campus or outside the department for credit in the minor.