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. Our curriculum places a strong emphasis on experiential learning.

In studio courses, students express ideas and experiences through the creation of original artworks. They acquire a 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 and in collections on and off campus.

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, Professor Véronique Plesch

Professors Bevin Engman, Gary Green, Véronique Plesch, and Tanya Sheehan; Associate Professors Marta Ameri, Bradley Borthwick, Daniel Harkett, and Garry Mitchell; Visiting Assistant Professor Amanda Lilleston

Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Studio Art

I. Studio Concentration: Four courses in a single medium (painting, photography, print/digital media, or sculpture)

II. Studio Electives: Two additional courses in any medium. Students may count only one 100-level studio course toward the major.

III. Art History: One 100-level course, one course focused on modern/contemporary (ca. 1850 to the present) art history at the 100 or 200 level, and one additional course at the 200 level or above. Photography concentrators must take one history of photography survey (285 or 288).

IV. 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.

Students must seek the approval of the department to count courses taken off campus toward the studio art major. A maximum of three courses may be taken off campus or outside the department for credit in the major.

Requirements for the Major in Art History

I. Historical Breadth: Three 100-level courses, two 200-level courses

II. Historical/Research Depth: Three courses at the 300 and 400 levels, with at least one course at each level

III. Studio Foundations: 131, 133, 135, 217, or 221

IV. Theories and Methods: 411

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

Art history majors must work with their advisors to develop a course of study that covers diverse historical, geographical, and cultural content.

Students double majoring in studio art and art history may count a maximum of four courses toward both majors.

Students planning to continue the study of studio art, architecture, or art history in graduate school should confer with their advisors to plan an appropriate course of study.

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 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: one 100-level studio art course (131, 133, or 135), one 100-level art history course, one 200- or 300-level art history course, 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.

* Note that AR110 and AR117 do not fulfill this minor requirement.

** Art minors who wish to participate in the Senior Art Exhibition must take at least four courses in a single studio concentration. Art minors should plan their senior year to include fall and spring courses in their chosen medium, taken in conjunction with the studio capstone (AR401-402). Studio capstone courses (two credits each) cannot replace any of the seven courses required for the minor.