The primary purpose of the Art Department is to foster creativity and critical thinking through an understanding of the practice and history of the visual arts. We seek to help students develop visual literacy and problem-solving skills, to explore confidently the many avenues of technical and creative expression, and to develop an appreciation for craftsmanship. Through such experiences, the students are also encouraged to see how their own creative endeavors relate to other disciplines within the liberal arts.
The art curriculum is structured to provide entering students with basic skills in two- and three-dimensional studies such as drawing, painting, design fundamentals, photography, ceramics and sculpture. All these areas include a theoretical component, which is further supported by survey courses in the history of art. Students may then pursue a chosen area in depth, and on a more experimental level by taking advanced studies courses that focus on individual projects in a variety of media. Group discussions of these projects are intended to promote a more personal style of art making, skills in critical thinking, visual responsiveness and an awareness of aesthetic issues common to most art forms. Such skills may be augmented by upper-level art history courses, and by innovative, often interdisciplinary winter session offerings both on campus, and sometimes abroad. In this way, students are encouraged to develop a broad knowledge of the visual arts plus a sense of self-sufficiency that will assist them in the continued pursuit of goals after graduation. The capstone of the art major's undergraduate career is the production of a sustained and coherent body of work for the annual senior exhibition.
For art students to flourish, more is needed than the skills outlined above. They also require the stimulus of challenging exhibitions and an awareness of the rich resources of the regional and local community. Assignments in both the practical and art history courses frequently require students to take advantage of high quality exhibitions at the Boise Art Museum (web), the galleries of Boise State University (web) and other venues. On campus, the Rosenthal Gallery of Art (web) shows work by professional artists, items from the College's western and ethnographic collections, and provides a forum for local high schools to display the art of their best students.
Graduating art majors pursue career goals in a variety of ways. Those interested in fine art are directed to graduate programs that confer a Master of Fine Arts degree. Students who pursue a concentration or a minor in art history or graphic design often find rewarding careers in museum work or the applied arts. Students wishing to earn a living in the latter area are advised to complete a minor in business. Those seeking to teach art in the public schools must complete the requirements listed by the Education Department.