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Would you recommend being an art an art major, and why?

 “YES. It forces your mind to think in ways that enhance other forms of thinking. Logic, space, color, emotion, the list is endless. It will help form a thought process that is beneficial in ANY career path, whether that continues to be art or otherwise. I get to work with people and I get to be creative. " -Heather Pallas, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a degree in art or art history?

Graduating with a major from the Gustavus Art and Art History Department prepares you to enter into creative practice in a variety of fields. Currently, our alumni are employed as art educators, museum curators, technicians in lab and research settings, leadership development consultants in the nonprofit sector, entrepreneurs, software developers, professional artists, professors in higher education, architects, graphic designers, interior designers and landscape designers.

As an art major, what will I study?

Are you interested in film and media studies? Do you love drawing with compressed charcoal? Do ancient ruins inspire you and you want to learn more about art from around the world? No matter what courses you choose to take, the Gustavus faculty will challenge you to think about art’s purpose and function in our social, cultural and economic context. The classes required by the major aim to help each student grow technically and conceptually. Foundation courses focus on skill development, as well as the exploration of ideas, form and materials. Upper level courses allow for more in depth study of a specific media. We offer courses in a wide range of media including digital photography, ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, video and metal sculpture. You may also decide to add a minor such as Film, Media Studies or Arts Administration. Our major has a junior and a senior seminar that include professional development and aid in preparation for the Senior jury and exhibition at the Hillstrom Museum.

What makes being an art major at Gustavus unique?

Majoring in art at Gustavus offers you the opportunity to study the fine arts within a liberal arts context. Student diversity of majors feeds the knowledge base and perspectives of the class dynamic. The small class sizes and close knit community allow majors to seek feedback from all professors in the department. In the words of a current studio art major, Mia Cannon, "Choosing to major in art allows you an interactive learning environment. The professor guides you, but you have agency over your studio practice." Another unique feature of Gustavus is that seniors have 24 hour access to their own senior studio spaces.

Can I double major?

Yes, in fact it is very common to double major. Students at Gustavus are highly encouraged to pursue any field(s) that may interest them, from Classics to Biology to the Studio Arts, and therefore double majoring in various related or unrelated fields is possible.

What types of media are accessible to me at Gustavus?

Courses are offered in Drawing, Ceramics, Painting, Analog and Digital Photography, Video, Graphic Design, Web Design, Metal Sculpture, and Printmaking. Upper level courses often encourage cross-pollination and exploration of media. For example, students in Advanced Printmaking create installations that interweave print and sculpture. Read more about the curriculum by exploring the catalog here.

Are there opportunities to exhibit our artwork?

At Gustavus, the exhibition of artist works is highly valued. Not only does the college regularly display the works of professional artists in its galleries, but there are also opportunities for students to display their work as well. Every spring, the Sophomore Art Majors and Minors have a co-exhibition, followed by the Junior Art Majors Exhibition in the Schaefer Gallery. The Senior Art Exhibition takes place each year in May at the Hillstrom Museum of Art.

What opportunities does Gustavus offer outside of the classroom that would make me a better artist?

Being immersed in a liberal arts context offers the opportunity for our artists to gain knowledge and ask questions in a larger community of scholars and learners. The relationships built within the campus enhance the consideration you, as an artist, bring into the studio. As a student here, you will be encouraged to explore the core principles of our school including social justice issues. We also offer the opportunities to have off-campus experiences through internships.