About the Department of Art

Ron Linn, Alumni Center

As part of a major research university, the Department of Art is committed to excellence, open inquiry, and the substantial contributions and potential of creative practice. Situated within the unique environment of the Northwest, the department has a long history of valuing individuality, interdisciplinarity, and power of place.

We offer an innovative art curriculum reflecting contemporary practices. Students and faculty employ a fluid continuum of practices—using old and new media in surprising ways to address compelling questions. Our department fosters breadth and interdisciplinary engagement, along with depth and discipline within media.

Core Studio

Core Studio is the Department of Art’s foundational art and design curriculum comprising three primary course sections that are prerequisites for the department’s media areas, which include sculpture, painting and drawing, jewelry and metalsmithing, fibers, photography, digital arts, and printmaking. Core Studio also serves the Product Design program and the larger university community.

The innovative curriculum allows students to grapple with dimensional iterations exploring differing media and how they relate to one another. Students explore how transitioning media areas function, succeed, and fail in multiple forms exposing them to the interrelationship of perception, systems of representation, and the limitations in 2D, 3D, and 4D outputs. Starting with Core Studio courses, required of all majors, students can explore widely before selecting one on which to focus. To learn more about the Core Studio, visit the blog:


Our curriculum encompasses a broad range of media including:

Within and across these media, you will encounter diverse practices including:

  • Video
  • Installation
  • Letterpress
  • Performance
  • Alternative materials and processes
  • Emerging technologies

Emphasis is on the inextricable linkage of making and thinking, of material and technical skills with conceptual and critical understanding.

Our Community

The Department of Art is a lively, engaged community, with approximately 500 majors and 20 graduate students. With small studio classes and clusters of activity around different shops, you will form strong relationships and have an individualized experience.

As actively practicing artists, our faculty members are able to model and communicate to you the compelling rigors and rewards of creative inquiry. Deeply engaged in their own practices and exhibiting internationally, our faculty are contributing to current developments in the field and sharing those experiences with their students. This commitment to artmaking as an ongoing practice and open inquiry is central to all levels of our teaching, from the introduction of a nonmajor through the graduate program.

What We Offer

  • BA/BS in Art or Art & Technology
  • For the BFA degree, students major in a specific media area
  • MFA: the terminal professional degree in Art
  • Through Arts & Letters group-satisfying courses and access to studio offerings for nonmajors, the department is also committed to the contribution of studio art to a liberal arts education

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.