About the B.F.A. in Art, B.A. in Art, and B.A. in Art History
- Preparation for professional careers in graphic design, interior design, art therapy
- Preparation for teaching
- Preparation for graduate study
- Specialty in Scientific Illustration
- Traditional studio arts preparation
- Internationally recognized Art Gallery plus experimental and white cube student galleries
- Internships, fieldwork and other real-world experiential learning
- Opportunities to study abroad at some of the top universities around the world
Arcadia University Art and Design: Where Well-Rounded Artists Take Shape
Small, interactive art classes. Practical, hands-on internships. Exciting study abroad opportunities…They all come together at Arcadia to give you the tools you need to think creatively and make the most of whatever career path you choose. With so many different professional options to explore, the art world is more multi-faceted now than ever before. In Arcadia’s supportive liberal arts setting, you’ll acquire the diverse skills and experience you need to thrive as an artist and a person.
Arcadia University’s NASAD-accredited* Art and Design program combines the intimacy and individual attention of a small school with the depth and diversity of ambitious study abroad opportunities, offering a unique and rewarding college experience. Home to an internationally known Art Gallery, Arcadia offers 12 different art concentrations, as well as a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. Located just a short drive from Philadelphia, Arcadia provides exciting opportunities for real-world art exploration and hands-on internships. At Arcadia, students enjoy a strong sense of community with peers and faculty, and develop lifelong creative skills to support a variety of career pursuits.
Arcadia’s nationally recognized program in Art and Design, in combination with a liberal arts environment, provides students with a unique atmosphere to grow creatively and intellectually. The Department believes that the art and imagery of the past and present together shape an individual’s self and cultural identity, and it educates students to become artists who will develop keen powers of observation, communication and inquiry, technical and formal excellence, and a creative spirit.
Accreditation: The Department is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Programs prepare students for professions in graphic design, interior design, scientific illustration, art therapy, art education and the traditional studio arts. The program also prepares students for graduate study. Numerous Macintosh and PC computers are available for desktop publishing, computer imaging and CAD. All Art and Design students are encouraged to become familiar with computer graphics, either through supplementary work or in workshops.
Fieldtrips/Internships: In addition to offering a wide range of academic and studio courses, the Art and Design Department schedules annual fieldtrips to area museums, including New York and Washington, D.C. Each trip relates exhibits to studio and historical concerns. Internships at museums and other businesses and organizations provide students with important professional experiences.
Scientific Illustration: The Scientific Illustration program combines study in Biology and Art and Design. Two emphases exist— Scientific Illustration and Pre-Medical Illustration. The former prepares students for careers in biological illustration, graphic design or laboratory research. The latter prepares students for graduate study in medical illustration.
Art Gallery: With a focus on traditional and contemporary art, the Arcadia University Art Gallery offers exhibits throughout the year, including works of faculty, alumni, students and nationally and internationally known guest artists. The Gallery serves as a recognized regional base of excellence in the visual arts for the general public and the entire University community.
Student Galleries: The Arcadia Commons Gallery is a student gallery supporting a variety of exhibitions including the juried student art exhibition, alumni exhibitions and student-curated exhibitions.
The Judith Taylor Student Gallery is a “white cube” space suited for student-curated group shows and class projects. Individual submissions by students will be considered. The gallery is named in honor of Judith Taylor, Professor of Photography from 1995 to 2010.
Art and Design Philosophy
The Department of Art and Design believes 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.
Art and Design Mission Statement
The mission of the Department of Art and Design 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 the 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.
The Arcadia University Art Gallery Mission Statement
The Arcadia University Art Gallery is a nationally recognized showcase for contemporary art located 12 miles north of Center City Philadelphia. Within the hybrid context defined by an Art History concentration within a liberal arts college and an active regional community of working artists and arts professionals, the Gallery’s mission is to:
- Provide a cultural resource that encourages dialogue about visual art among artists, the public, educators and students.
- Support artistic excellence and diversity on both a national and a local level and define and clarify issues pertinent to contemporary practice.
- Seek to foster greater accessibility and understanding of the art of our time and to have a voice in the dialogue concerning its socio-cultural relevance.
Art and Design Overall Goals, Objectives, and Practices
Our goal is to provide a learning environment in each of our 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.
Under most circumstances, Art History and studio courses are open to all students. However, for students not majoring in Art and Design, FA 102 Studio Art Foundations I, or FA 103 Studio Art Foundations II or FA 104 Drawing I, and either AH 111 Renaissance to Modern Art or AH 112 Egyptian to Medieval Art are prerequisites for advanced work, unless the student receives permission from the instructor. Certain 200-level studio courses fulfill non-major Undergraduate Curriculum requirements. No prerequisites are required for these courses.
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 must submit a portfolio of work before acceptance into the program is granted. Typically, portfolio reviews are conducted during the University’s Fall Open House programs, Spring Portfolio Review Day in March, Countdown to Arcadia University 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. (Contact the Office of Enrollment Management for more information.)
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 and color studies
- Drawings from observation (still-life, landscape, figure, etc.)
- Self-portrait (any medium)
- Prints (blockprints, screenprints, etchings, etc.)
- Reproductions, or examples of any designs or illustrations done for high school publications or other organizations
- Architectural renderings or drawings
- Slides of sculpture
- Examples or slides of ceramics or metals and jewelry
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.
When works are small and can fit into a portfolio, then the originals are desirable. Matted works are acceptable without acetate coverings. Large, fragile, or complex works can be presented digitally.
Online Portfolio Submissions
The Art & Design Department uses SlideRoom for online portfolio submissions. The web portal address is: https://arcadia.slideroom.com.
Application without a Portfolio
A student who does not have a portfolio or have a limited portfolio still can apply to Arcadia University. If accepted to the University, the student can enroll as an undeclared major. During the 10th week of the second semester, the student must submit a portfolio to the Art and Design Department for evaluation and consideration for entry into the program. In addition, students must take the three Art and Design foundation courses: FA 102 Studio Art Foundations I, FA 103 Studio Art Foundations II, and FA 104 Drawing I. A student must meet with his or her Art and Design adviser to receive guidance on how to build a portfolio. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the portfolio at the designated time. A student who fails to submit a portfolio by the required date will be denied admission to the Art and Design program.
A student transferring into the University as an Art and Design major is required to submit a portfolio. The contents of the portfolio should be selected to reflect the student’s abilities in the proposed area of concentration but also should contain work representing the student’s overall abilities. A transfer student without a portfolio should follow the guidelines for “Application without a Portfolio.”
Change of Major within the University
A student who wants to change his or her major to Art and Design is required to submit a portfolio as part of the change of major process. A student who does not have a portfolio is required to submit a portfolio at the completion of the three Art and Design foundation courses: FA 102 and FA 103 Studio Art Foundations II, and FA 104 Drawing I. A student must meet with his or her Art and Design Department adviser to receive guidance on how to build a portfolio. The student is responsible for submitting the portfolio to the Art and Design Department at the completion of the foundation courses for consideration for entry into the program. A student who fails to submit a portfolio by the required date will be denied admission to the Art and Design program.
Bachelor of Fine Arts
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs combine a liberal arts education with professional preparation for careers in art or design. Through courses in the humanities and sciences, students gain an understanding of the nature of art, humankind and society, which is essential to developing creative potential. Special attention is given to the major visual disciplines as a foundation for art specializations.
Students are prepared for graduate study in studio art; entry-level positions in numerous art occupations connected with business and industry, government and social agencies; and future possibilities for careers as exhibiting artists.
During the freshman and sophomore years, all B.F.A. students take a major in Art and a common set of courses in the basic art disciplines, including Art History. In the junior and senior years, students select one of the studio concentrations described below, with the permission of their advisers. Internships are strongly recommended and are required for some concentrations.
Ceramics: As a metaphorical vehicle, ceramics can express a wide range of views and concepts, from high technological development to expressive personal statements. Clay is a material with implications and manifestations as plastic as its own unique characteristics. Ceramic history is implicitly tied to technology, labor, art, utility, culture, and human survival. In an age when contemporary art can no longer be constrained by traditional media-specific categorizations, the Ceramics curriculum is considered in the broader context of contemporary art. A diversity of approaches is encouraged, and an experimental approach is essential.
Graphic Design: This concentration prepares students to enter the rapidly changing field of visual communication through exposure to historical and contemporary technical and theoretical issues. Coursework emphasizes the analysis, discussion and understanding of idiosyncratic student needs balanced with the dual obligations to message and receiver. Students are offered exposure to extracurricular opportunities ranging from participation in the AIGA Student Chapter, a national organization of visual communication, to various applied projects for the University and the greater community. Students gain exposure through open critiques and public exhibitions designed to reinforce their identities as communicators who are responsible to and involved with an audience.
Interior Design: This concentration prepares students for careers as professional interior designers, with an emphasis on contemporary commercial interior design. It synthesizes fundamental principles of design, with an emphasis on the element of space related to specific design problems. Students develop awareness of the importance of scale, space, form, color, materials and light; the foundation on which interiors are built. The concentration emphasizes the ability to design architectural space and to develop creative solutions to problems of interior architecture. It introduces the principles and skills of digital drawing technology, and it encourages students to participate in local professional design organizations and regional design competitions.
Metals and Jewelry: This concentration provides creative opportunities to discover the possibilities available in working with metal and reinforces understanding of 3-D design, drawing and related studio work. Students can develop skills leading to the production of professional work. The program incorporates the history of art and craft with experience in the media. The studios are well equipped and provide an excellent opportunity for experimentation in a variety of areas.
Painting: Building on a foundation of perceptual work, students develop a working understanding of the material and painting as visual language. Students examine the nature of seeing and consider painting as a vehicle for both visual and personal inquiry. Students grow to explore expressive possibilities through increased personal involvement and critical and theoretical awareness. For the senior thesis, a student works independently to produce a cohesive body of work borne from personal experimentation along with historical and theoretical understanding.
Photography: This concentration emphasizes the exploration of the medium of photography. Courses integrate the examination of art historical precedent, contemporary criticism, technical process, commercial application, and the development of individual style. Individual responsibility increases as students advance. The senior thesis provides the opportunity to define and refine essential characteristics of the creative self.
Printmaking: This concentration provides a thorough knowledge of major printmaking techniques (intaglio, silk screen and relief) and emphasizes aesthetics and use of the medium to express personal style and image. Seniors work with considerable independence at a highly sophisticated technical and aesthetic level.
Each B.F.A., B.A. studio, and Scientific Illustration student is required to complete a senior thesis, including an exhibition and written thesis, in his or her major area. An exceptional student, with permission of the Department Chair, may complete a thesis in two major areas.