Visual Arts

The visual arts as a major area of study offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of artistic creativity through making art in a studio setting;a responsive eye and a sense of visual literacy; an understanding of the relationship between art and society; and an understanding of modern art concepts and contemporary trends as well as the major artistic epochs of the past.

Visual Arts senior thesis display
Book Arts display
String Room Gallery student art exhibit
Art History

A student who chooses art history as her or his concentration should complete the required art history courses in the major, and should take two courses from history and/or religion. A student should consult with her or his advisor regarding the program by the end of the sophomore year. Students who plan to pursue graduate study should gain a reading knowledge of French and German.

Studio Art

Students produce their own work and receive individualized instruction in painting, drawing, two and three-dimensional design, sculpture, photography, ceramics and other areas of visual expression. Graduating seniors exhibit their art in the String Room Gallery as the capstone to their academic work.

Book Arts

Students learn first-hand the traditions and history of the book through courses in printing, bookbinding, calligraphy, and other topics. Working with skilled instructors on campus and through internships at prestigious institutions, students are well-prepared to go on to graduate programs in book arts and conservation. The senior capstone course culminates in a show of the student's work and a gala reception.

Students will benefit from the experience of study in England, Germany, or Italy and should consult the study abroad programs. The visual arts major recommends that students majoring in visual arts (studio art or art history) go abroad before their senior year. The senior thesis must be accomplished on campus during both fall and spring semesters of the senior year.

The total number of courses required for the major is 15-18 (40-54 semester hours). At least six courses taken for the major must be at the 300-level or above.

Internships and Study Abroad

Delve further into your creative goals or examine practical applications for your artistic knowledge and appreciation through an internship. Wells alumnae/i who are established leaders in their fields often provide internships opportunities for current students. The following is a sample of internships in the visual arts area held by Wells students in recent years:

  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY
  • Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY
  • Testfabrics, Inc., West Pittstown. PA
  • Bill Stone Photography, New York City, NY
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Paint from a rooftop in Florence as you study Renaissance art at its roots. Wells makes it possible. Visual Arts majors can pursue programs around the world. Check out our off-campus study programs

Co-Curricular Activities

Visual Arts majors can enhance their work in the studio and classroom by participating in student life—especially cultural activities.

Check out:

  • Student Art Shows
  • Morgan Colloquium (art history and history lectures and discussions)
  • String Room Gallery Shows
  • The Onyx (student newspaper)
  • The Cardinal (yearbook)
  • The Chronicle (literary magazine)

"I can still remember my freshmen orientation, the games we played, my orientation and peer leaders, and my first friends that I met and we are still friends till this day."

Ariel Adams '16
Psychology Major, Collegiate President, Prodigy Step Team Captain
Program Faculty
Theodore Lossowski
Professor of Art
Katie Waugh
Assistant Professor of Studio Art
Making Art in Practice

If you have a passion for creating intriguing art and a dream of sharing it with others, you'll love studying Visual Arts at Wells. As a student assistant with the String Room Gallery, you'll learn the practical methods of curating an exhibit for the public, complete with an opening reception. It's the perfect way to interact with working artists, see the way they design their pieces, and learn how they decide "what goes where" in a professional gallery. Then, the senior thesis allows you to experience it yourself, designing a complete series of artworks and planning your own gallery opening.

The Book Arts Center at Wells College is amazing whether you are a Visual Arts major with a specialty in book arts or a student with curiosity and an interest in working with your hands—whether printing, bookbinding, papermaking, or learning calligraphy. The Book Arts Center invites a variety of book artists and visual artists to hold paper making workshops or even to make your own Valentine's Day or holiday cards in the letterpress printing room. A fun fact: all Wells diplomas are personally printed in Wells' own Book Arts Center.


Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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