For Prospectives

student handling artwork consisting of mass of black strings

What can I expect if I take Studio Art courses at Wellesley?

Wellesley studio art courses are intended to strengthen your visual awareness, independence of thought, and creative flexibility as you gain hands-on experience in a range of fine art media. Regardless of whether you are planning a career in the arts, studio based investigation enhances your ability to improvise, to envision new possibilities, and to thrive in the face of uncertainty. Liberal arts students who are engaged in the arts learn to make unexpected connections between images, ideas, materials, and histories. As our world becomes increasingly mediated and complex, your ability to see between the lines, to understand the way that visual information ha been constructed, presented, and construed, is vital.

All of our studio faculty members are active professional artists, here to respond to the work that you make and help you understand how it might grow stronger and more compelling from one project to the next. Our teaching approach is highly interactive and personally directed, involving a combination of studio demonstrations, guided experimentation, and critical feedback. We often discuss your creative development in relation to art history and contemporary art practice, but our liberal arts context makes it possible to involve scholars and resources from many fields in a discussion of your projects as well. Our goal is to help you think more divergently as you explore new possibilities, question your previous assumptions, and learn to edit your work with insight, awareness, and conviction.

As you move from the foundation studio courses to those at the 200 and 300 levels, increased emphasis is placed on the way that you identify and hone your own most pressing questions; how you set challenges for yourself, grasp the potential of your medium, and come to terms with different critical approaches to your work. Advanced studio courses require you to be committed, self-directed, and reflective; to thrive on dialogue between students, faculty, and visiting artists; and to think expansively about the possibilities inherent in creative work in progress. Regardless of level, most studio courses at Wellesley involve active collaboration with students from many cultural backgrounds. Learning to sustain a constructive dialogue and understand the implications of a project from several cultural perspectives is a valuable skill for many professions, so students from many majors are welcome in our studio art courses.

Should you decide to major in studio art, you’ll be working toward a senior exhibition in your final semester. You’ll determine the nature and scope of your senior project in conversation with a studio faculty advisor, most likely in the context of an advanced studio course, an independent study project, or a full year thesis project for honors. If you pursue an independent study or studio thesis project, you will be allocated a studio workspace, and your project will develop through private discussions with your advisor, presentations and critiques involving the full studio art faculty, as well as interactions with other advanced students and guest artists. Your work as a studio art major will culminate in a public exhibit, installation, or screening, accompanied by a paper of personal reflection, documenting the development of your project and your sense of its relationship to 20th-century and contemporary art production. This will be an opportunity to pull together many facets of your liberal arts experience as you present your art professionally and look ahead to new opportunities.