The Department of Art offers its students a spectrum of experience that reflects its primary mission: The advancement of a sophisticated and diverse visual culture. The undergraduate Art Major provides meaningful courses and programs for elective students, generalists, and those who intend to pursue art or design professionally. The Master of Fine Arts degree is offered to accomplished young artists with aspirations in the professional art world and higher education. The department takes full advantage of its position within the fertile academic environment of a major university by developing ties with many of the departments and centers on campus. The diverse array of challenging experiences provided for students within the department and university is enhanced by our location just outside the Washington, DC, and less than an hour away from Baltimore. Access to, and interaction with, the numerous museums, galleries, embassies, and international institutions in these major metropolitan centers brings important real-world experience to students in our program.
The department’s goal is to provide its students with the technical and conceptual tools needed to make innovative contributions to a visual culture in which traditional boundaries between the visual arts, design, film, video, and architecture have become increasingly blurred. The accomplished faculty members bring their professional experiences to the teaching studios, providing a contemporary context for the development of skills and ideas. The department’s creative environment encourages creative problem solving, interdisciplinary experimentation, and the production of images, objects, and experiences that reflect a sophisticated visual literacy. From a shared foundation emphasizing traditional fundamentals of art and design, students move into media concentrations that encourage interdisciplinary interaction, particularly with developing digital technologies. This flexible interaction between traditional and new media is central to the department’s vision and the success of its mission.
In a society that increasingly defines itself in visual terms, artists and designers are critical in shaping its future. The creative atmosphere of the Department of Art’s studios is a fertile ground for the development of the complex skills and ideas needed to navigate and contribute to an evolving visual culture.