About Art and Design Programs
We believe it is essential to cultivate an environment that encourages aesthetic awareness, historical consciousness, critical analysis, and an appreciation for the role of art in a comprehensive education.
Our mission is to maintain an educational setting that fosters creativity, analytical thinking, critical discourse and innovation through a commitment to the following:
- Technical and conceptual proficiency in a chosen area of concentration within the Department
- Technical and conceptual knowledge in the various areas of concentration within the Department
- An emphasis on critical thinking and creative production through the continued development of analytical, formal, and conceptual skills
- An understanding of the creation, production, and interpretation of art across cultural and historical contexts
This mission is realized within the context of a comprehensive liberal arts university.
Overall Goals, Objectives, & Practices
Our goal is to provide a learning environment in all classes that will:
- Cultivate critical inquiry, analysis and reflection;
- Embrace and integrate liberal arts education;
- Foster self-motivation;
- Encourage each student’s sense of his or her individual vision and potential;
- Develop effective visual, oral, and written communication skills;
- Develop a working understanding of and competency with materials and techniques;
- Acquire a foundation in art history and its methodologies;
- Provide professional, safe, clean, and accessible facilities;
- Provide initiatives and opportunities for professional practices;
- Provide a network for students, faculty and alumni to engage in continuing dialogue
Degrees and Concentrations
Within the hybrid context defined by the Department of Art and Design within a liberal arts university and an active regional community of working artists and arts professionals, Arcadia Exhibitions strives to:
- Provide a cultural resource that encourages dialogue among artists, the public, educators, and students about contemporary art;
- Support artistic excellence and diversity on both a national and local level;
- Address issues pertinent to contemporary art practice;
- Encourage the idea of the public exhibition as a creative form that contextualizes artworks and artifacts in a way that offers experiences to viewers that inspire and challenge;
- Reinforce exhibitions through public programming and scholarly publications;
- Maintain a strong sense of the institution’s cultural identity and history through the care and preservation of its collections of art and documentary materials.
The defining challenge of Arcadia Exhibitions is to serve as an integral component of the educational mission of the Department of Art and Design while providing a broad-based community constituency with a stimulating roster of individual and thematic exhibitions of contemporary art ranging in scope and stature from the regional to the international.
About the Galleries
A nationally recognized venue for contemporary art in the greater Philadelphia area, the Spruance Art Gallery is a 1,100-square-foot facility (housed in a 1893 power station). For over 30 years, this space has provided the region with a stimulating roster of individual and thematic exhibitions shaped by its mission to encourage dialogue among artists, educators, students and the general public about contemporary art and its socio-cultural relevance.
Along with bringing the work of previously un-exhibited or little-known artists to our region, the gallery is also committed to local artists, actively encouraging innovative approaches to art production and acknowledging the contribution of long-standing, influential members of the art community. Educational programs invite the artists and highly respected scholars and curators to discuss each exhibition with the public.
Harrison Gallery, University Commons
Inaugurated in January 2012, the Harrison Gallery is an open, highly trafficked exhibition space located near the main entrance of the University Commons. Conceived as a venue to present the work of students, faculty, and alumni, it is home to such events as the Juried Student Biennial and the Alumni Spotlight Exhibition. For the past five years it has also hosted the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Juried Student Art Exhibition, which highlights the art of local high school students. Additionally, it hosts exhibitions developed as part of the Art Research Collaboration (ARC) Exhibition Program.
Rosedale Gallery, University Commons
This exhibition venue, also inaugurated in January 2012, is located just outside the Great Room, a popular 450-seat auditorium used for lectures, performances, and other major events on campus. The exhibitions presented in this space, like those in the Harrison Gallery, are generally focused on the work of students, faculty, and alumni. However, given the venue’s immediate proximity to the Great Room, exhibitions presented in the Rosedale Gallery are often selected to function in conjunction with programs hosted by this venue highlighting topics of regional interest. Philadelphia muralist David Guinn’s exhibition “Before the Wall, Mural Sketches and Designs” (2016), on view during a semester-long series of lectures and panels exploring public art, serves as one such example. Another is “Make What You Need” (2018), an exhibition of fabric works by Carole Loeffler incorporating short statements composed in light of the current political climate, which coincided with the University’s hosting of the national 2018 conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association. Other noteworthy exhibitions in the Rosedale Gallery include “Jamar Nicholas: World Building” (2013), which presented process drawings generated by the Philadelphia-based cartoonist and educator in the development of his comic strips and graphic novels, and “Signpost” (2014), a juried presentation of photographs taken by Arcadia students during their international Spring Preview experience.
Judith Taylor Gallery
The Judith Taylor Gallery, inaugurated in 2009, is located on the basement floor of the Landman Library. It is a space dedicated to hosting exhibitions organized and created by students, either individually, in groups, or as part of a class. Any student currently enrolled in a University art course may sign out the space to present their own work or to curate an exhibition of the work of others.
Some noteworthy examples include the following:
- An exhibition of vessels selected from the Rilling Collection of African and Asian Ceramics organized by Dao La ‘15;
- “Yearbook 1968/Student Life,” an exhibition exploring students’ relationships to the tumultuous events of 1968, featuring posters, photographs, artifacts from student life, voices from Beaver College at the time, and current students’ group research projects on global issues from that year;
- “Paper Trail,” an exhibition of print proofs by undergraduates enrolled in printmaking programs at area colleges, curated by Katie Bye ‘16;
- “She’s a Man Now,” an installation comprised of three video works by Jaxson Arnold ‘17 exploring gender identity and video portraiture.
Art Research Collaboration (ARC) Exhibition Program
The ARC Exhibition Program presents exhibitions focusing on the creative and intellectual endeavors of the greater University community, including work by students, faculty, and alumni. In addition to engaging University departments across campus, ARC develops programs and exhibitions with local and international educational partners, alumni, and students to present visual information, artifacts, and other academic, research-based materials in an art gallery context.
To date, ARC’s exhibitions have been presented in the Harrison and Rosedale Galleries (in the University Commons) and the Judith Taylor Gallery (on the ground floor of the Landman Library). The exhibitions produced represent an alternative to the traditional modes of sharing academic research and express the goal of the Harrison and Rosedale Galleries, which is to focus on exhibitions that demonstrate the inherent mutual benefit of cross-disciplinary efforts between the campus art community and other University departments, as well as with other academic institutions, both local and international.
Noteworthy examples include “Biodesign Atacama: Imagining New Life Forms in the Northern Chilean Desert” (2015), an exhibition that featured speculative research by artist/animator Gerald Habarth (Associate Professor, West Virginia University) and biologist Sheryl Smith (Associate Professor, Arcadia University) conducted with their students. “Myths and Realities: Inspirations from the Republic of Cuba” (2012), showcased landscapes and botanical drawings by Department of Art and Design faculty Abbey Ryan and Scott Rawlins along with works on paper by Penn State Abington faculty Bonnie Leventhal and Yvonne Love, all referencing or incorporating indigenous materials gathered during the four artists’ visit to Havana in 2012 as part of Arcadia’s Global Faculty Development Program.
Other activities sponsored by the ARC Exhibition Program include artist lectures, panel discussions, gallery talks, and live performances.
Arcadia University Permanent Collection
Collection of Benton Spruance prints
The University currently holds 118 prints, proofs, portfolios, and preparatory sketches by internationally recognized lithographer and former Beaver College Art Department Chair Benton Spruance (1904-1967). The majority of these can be found in the University Archives, located in the basement of the Landman Library, but seven prints are currently on display in various offices across campus. Notable works include The Artist as Model (1942), Forward Pass (1944), and Subway Playground (1951). The collection also includes many artist proofs for Spruance’s final series of prints, The Passion of Ahab (1968). Based on Melville’s Moby Dick, this portfolio of offset color lithographs was published along with an introduction by Lawrence Roger Thompson. The University owns four copies of this published work.
“Works on Paper” Purchase Awards
Since 1977 the University has purchased 42 works of art from the juried “Works on Paper” exhibitions. To date, Arcadia can confirm the location of 24 of these pieces. Culturally significant Philadelphia-based artists represented in the collection include: Lois Johnson, Notations 1970-73 (1978); Jill Alexandria Rupinski, One Embrace (1981); Bo Bartlett, Charlatan (1981); Carl Fudge, The Resurrection (From Durer’s The Resurrection) (1990); A.P. Gorny, Yves Peintuers (1991); Anne Seidman, 2x6 Array (1994); Virgil Marti, Untitled (1995); Judith Schaechter, Child Bride (2002); and James Johnson, Package (2005). These works, along with many others, were included in “Works on Paper: Survey of Purchase Prizes (1978-2009)” presented by the Arcadia University Art Gallery (now Spruance Gallery) in the winter of 2015. This show represented the first time these works were exhibited together as a collection. A large percentage of these works are loaned to staff (on rotation) for temporary display in their offices.
The Rilling Collection of African and Asian Ceramics and Sculpture
This collection contains 192 examples of earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, and wooden sculpture representing ceramic traditions from China, Vietnam, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso. Although the insurance value of these works is appraised at $300,000, their real value to the University is their capacity to introduce studio art students to the earliest traditions of pottery techniques which they will hone and expand upon in their ceramics courses.
This collection includes nine outdoor sculptures installed across the Arcadia campus. The most notable of these is the cast bronze piece Gate V (1960) by Louise Nevelson, a donation by Mr. And Mrs. James M. Ballengee, which hangs on the exterior of Boyer Hall. The Ballengees also donated Troika (1976), a steel maquette by Charles Ginnever, and Memory (1981), a seven-foot-tall, figurative, aluminum sculpture by William King.
Three works were purchased by Muriel and Phillip Berman from the annual series “Sculpture,” a collaboration between Beaver College and the Cheltenham Art Center, presented on the Beaver campus from 1981 to 1987. These include Tilted Passthrough (1981) by Glenn Zweygardt, Construction (1983) by Henner Kuckuck, and An Ocean’s Perspective (1986) by Jill Sablosky.
More recently, Dorothy Aronson Kardon ‘56 and Donald Kardon contributed three painted steel sculptures, Sandpiper, Penguin, and Man, by local, Italian-born welder Silvan Bianco (1912-2004), who was acclaimed for his whimsical assemblages constructed from tools, machinery, and other metal objects.
The remainder of the 156 works in the collection are an eclectic mix of two-dimensional works acquired by a variety of former directors and Department of Art and Design members. Many of these works were created by former Beaver faculty or individuals with close ties to the University. This includes the print Moon-Avalon #2 (undated) by Edna Andrade and a total of 16 prints, watercolors, oils, and drawings by longtime Beaver College faculty John Hathaway, Jean Francksen, and Jack Davis.
In addition, the University owns four serigraphs by Clarence Carter from 1978, an untitled oil painting executed in 1958 by New York School sculptor Herbert Ferber, and three portraits of former Beaver College board members and benefactors by Nelson Shanks.
In March of 2016, the University received from donor Marilyn Steinbright four intact volumes of Alfred Stieglitz’s important early-twentieth-century publication Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly (1903-1917) along with 75 loose images from the publication.
Archives of Pati Hill
Thanks to a gift from Dorothy Lichtenstein, in October of 2017 the University received the archives of American artist and writer Pati Hill (1921-2014). Hill contributed regularly to the Paris Review in the 1950s, published a memoir, three novels, and one volume of poetry by 1962 before she turned to the photocopier in the early 1970s to explore ways to merge image and text. Her work from the mid-‘70s was the subject of the exhibition “Pati Hill: Photocopier, A Survey of Prints and Books (1974-83).” Funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, it was presented across 3 exhibition venues at Arcadia from February 25 to April 24, 2016 and traveled to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum (New London) in 2017.
The archive is comprised of approximately 10,000 documents ranging from unframed copier prints and correspondence to unpublished literary manuscripts and drafts, journals, and photographs. These papers document the evolution of a writer who became a pioneer in the field of xerography.
Examples of other materials and papers that constitute the archive include:
- Correspondence with key figures from the worlds of literature and art, including George Plimpton; Galway Kinnell; James Merrill; Charles Eames; Hill’s gallerist, Jill Kornblee; and Hill’s husband, Paul Bianchini.
- Materials associated with the production of her illustrated novel, Impossible Dreams (1976), including photographic prints by Robert Doisneau, Eva Rubinstein, Ralph Gibson, J.P. Soudre, Lucien Herve, and others.
- Files related to Hill’s ongoing relationships with major figures in the evolution of communications technology (dating from 1975 to 1986), including corporate leaders at IBM and Xerox both in the United States and France.
- Materials (in English) related to Hill’s unpublished journal that document the process of making her project Photocopying Versailles.
Apprenticeships give students a competitive edge in the art world. They offer hands-on, real-world work experience, and can help students launch careers as professional artists, curators, designers, illustrators, researchers, leaders of non-profit and community arts organization, and creative entrepreneurs. Through apprenticeships, students utilize the information they learned in such courses as Seminar: Make an Art Exhibition, Exploring Art in Philadelphia, Exploring Entrepreneurship in the Arts, Contemporary Curatorial Practices, Art History courses, Studio Art courses, and The Artist and the Exhibition: Gallery Practicum. Always tailored to individual interests, students can apprentice with artists, art historians, curators, galleries, museums, non-profits, art collectives, community organizations, art publications, and more. Students interested in apprenticeship typically also complete the Minor in Arts Entrepreneurship and Curatorial Studies.
About the Review
The Art and Design Department requires a portfolio review as part of the admissions process. Each student applying to the University as an Art and Design major in a B.A. or B.F.A. degree program typically submit a portfolio of work before acceptance into the program is granted. Portfolio reviews are usually conducted during the University’s Fall Open House programs, Spring Portfolio Review Day in March, Scarlet and Grey Day in April (for students admitted to the University), select National Portfolio Review Days each fall, and select days during the summer. Specific dates and Instructions for scheduling a Portfolio Review are listed on the website. Arrangements for the portfolio review are made in the Office of Enrollment Management.
In the portfolio review, faculty look for both an interest in and commitment to art. This is important since students will be contemplating a professional career in art if they pursue the B.F.A. degree.
The type of work that could constitute a portfolio might include the following:
- Design: posters, book covers, websites
- Drawings from observation: still-life, landscape, figure drawing in charcoal, pencil, chalk
- Metals and Jewelry
- Mixed-media and collage
- Prints: block prints, screenprints, etchings
- Painting: oil, acrylic, watercolor, ink
- Photographs: traditional, black and white, color, digital
- Self-portrait (any medium)
- Sculpture: Metal, plaster, stone, wood
Portfolios should consist of 15-20 pieces, and must include some examples of drawing from observation.
It is not necessary to have all the items listed above in a portfolio, but students should include those that best represent their abilities and talents. All art programs look for evidence and skill in drawing from observation, a sense of color and design, and evidence of other creative abilities and creative thinking. Prospective students should show a wide range of materials, processes and approaches in the portfolio.
When works are small and can fit into a portfolio, then the originals are desirable. Large, fragile, or complex works can be presented digitally.
Students are able to declare an intention to major in Art and Design and begin attending classes without a formal portfolio review. These students are labeled “Undeclared” but assigned an Art and Design adviser in the University system. Allowing some students to attend without an accepted portfolio review as a strength of Arcadia’s Art and Design program, because this creates a situation where students in the Department have a diverse range of abilities, skills, and exposure to art. By the tenth week of the Spring semester, all undeclared/art students must have a portfolio review and pass at that time in order to continue in the program.
Online Portfolio Submission
If you are unable to complete an in-person portfolio review, you can submit a digital portfolio online at https://arcadia.slideroom.com.
- Please upload 15 - 20 high quality images of different works. Follow the list of suggested portfolio items, and be sure to include some examples of drawing from observation.
- In the “Additional Details” section for each piece, please indicate:
All applicants should also submit a short statement (250-500 words) which answers the following question:
Describe when and how you discovered that you were interested in art and/or design. Why have you decided to pursue it as a major at Arcadia University?
If you are applying to Arcadia University as a transfer student:
- Please also upload a copy of your college transcripts.
Pathways to Study Abroad in Art and Design
“The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.” —Paul Strand
The Art and Design Department strongly encourages students to immerse themselves in the study abroad opportunities that Arcadia University offers. Art and Design majors have the opportunity to explore the world for a semester or more with excellent courses at some of the world’s most prestigious art programs in the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
You should meet with your adviser as first-year student to plan study abroad options. Almost all concentrations in Art and Design have sequenced courses, taken in a specific order, and certain concentrations only permit study abroad during a specific semester. You should meet with an adviser during your first year at Arcadia to discuss study abroad options. Careful planning is essential to avoid having to take an extra semester or year to complete your degree.
Below are some but not all of the schools at which you can study. In addition to formal classes, there are internship programs in England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.
Programs and Courses Abroad
Specific Art Programs Abroad
- The Burren College of Art (Ireland)
- The Glasgow School of Art (Scotland)
Studio Art/Design Courses Abroad
- The Accademia Italiana in Florence (Italy)
- Arcadia in Barcelona (Spain)
- Arcadia in Granada (Spain)
- Arcadia in London (England)
- Arcadia in Rome (Italy)
- Arcadia in Greece
- University of Aberdeen (Scotland)
- Arcadia in Cape Town (South Africa)
- Edinburgh Napier University (Scotland)
- University of Stirling (Scotland)
- National University of Ireland Galway (Ireland)
- University of Limerick (Ireland)
- The Umbra Institute in Perugia (Italy)
- University of Technology (Australia)
- Griffith University (Australia)
- University of Otago (New Zealand)
- Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)
- Bangor University (Whales)
About Art and Design Faculty
Art and Design faculty bring expertise, passion, and pedagogic creativity to all their teaching activities. Faculty members provide students with one-on-one attention in the development of their creative voice and professional research practices. Department faculty create connections between traditional classroom learning and the world beyond campus by making extensive use of the culturally rich Philadelphia area and by leading international Global Field Study and other research trips. In recent years, department faculty have traveled with our students to Florence, Rome, Perugia, and Sicily, Italy; Seoul, South Korea; Paris, France; and Eleuthera Island, Bahamas.
Several department faculty members have received University-wide awards: In 2012, Professor Robert Mauro won Professor of the Year; Professor Gregg Moore received the Steinbrucker Award in 2010; the Adjunct Faculty Award was awarded to Professor Michael DeLuca in 2007; and Professor Abbey Ryan was awarded the Norman Johnston Faculty Fellowship in 2016.
Advising and Mentoring
Personal attention is a cornerstone in the Department of Art and Design. Students get to know their professors and academic advisors (who are full-time department faculty members) and meet with them often—to plan their course of study, to explore study abroad options, to discuss apprenticeship, internship, and other professional practice opportunities, and to get advice about applying for jobs and graduate school. In addition, our Apprenticeship Program allows students to do one-on-one research with expert faculty mentors who are artists, designers, gallery owners, art historians, and curators.
Art and Design faculty members are widely respected artists and scholars engaged in pursuing ambitious research that contributes to a rich academic environment in the department. For example, recent highlights include:
Scientific illustrations by Professor Scott Rawlins were exhibited at the Dorr Museum and Philadelphia Flower show. Professor Betsey Batchelor exhibited her abstract paintings in Havana, Cuba, as part of a collaborative project with Cuban and Philadelphia artists. Metals work by Professor Karen Misher was exhibited at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City and acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for their permanent collection. Professor Gregg Moore mounted a solo exhibition of his ceramic work at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA. Professor Carole Loeffler mounted solo fiber sculpture exhibitions at Abington Art Center and Holy Family University. Professor Jill Pederson won a prestigious Ahmanson Research Fellowship from the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UCLA that allowed her to complete research for her book project, Circles of Friendship: Leonardo da Vinci and the Academy in Fifteenth-Century Milan. Still life painting work by Professor Abbey Ryan was exhibited at and acquired by the John F. Peto Museum for their permanent collection. California Institute of Integral Studies published an artist’s monograph of Professor June Yong Lee’s photographic work. Professor Michael DeLuca had drawings published in New American Paintings and was awarded a Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship. Professor Elizabeth Ferrell received a distinguished post-doctoral fellowship from the Georgia O’Keeffe Research Center and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
- Art History, B.A.
- Art Therapy, B.A
- Art Therapy, B.F.A
- Art, B.F.A.
- Art, B.F.A., with Art K-12 Certification
- Scientific Illustration (Pre-Medical Emphasis) B.A.
- Scientific Illustration, B.A.
- Studio Art, B.A.
- Studio Art, B.A. or Art B.F.A., Pre-Art Therapy Concentration
NOTE: Studio courses require a combination of scheduled class time and independent work that averages at least 12 hours a week.