Visual Arts

Learn from working artists while developing your craft in your own space, and your own way, in a visual arts bachelor’s degree program that lets you chart your own creative course.

With 24-hour access to studio space, small classes with robust supplies, rewarding internship and hands-on learning opportunities, and our unique interdisciplinary connections to the Wells Book Arts Center as well as other departments and campus resources, the visual arts program offers unique and engaging opportunities for anyone with a passion for creating art. Our liberal arts curriculum, culminating in a bachelor of arts degree, provides a broad base of ideas you can draw from, positioning you for success in diverse career paths. As a visual arts major at Wells, you’ll also enjoy the connected, collaborative learning environment of a small college while having access to a vast network of resources and opportunities in the surrounding New York art community and beyond. Visual arts majors can focus studies in art history, studio art, and book arts.

Visual Arts senior thesis display
pottery making in the studio
drawing class in session
mixing ink for printing class
view of the campbell arts building
letterpress print reading think critically, reason wisely and act humanely
Art History Concentration

Learn about different cultures and epochs of the past while gaining a deeper understanding of today's world through the study of art history. In addition to the required art history courses in the major, you should take two courses from history and/or religion. Art History is available as a concentration within the Visual Arts major or as a minor.

Studio Art Concentration

Produce your own work and receive individualized instruction in painting, drawing, two- and three-dimensional design, sculpture, photography, ceramics, new media and other areas of creative expression in the studio art concentration. As a graduating senior, you’ll work in a close cohort to develop and mount your thesis exhibition in the String Room Gallery as the capstone to your undergraduate work. Studio art is available as a concentration within the Visual Arts major or as a standalone minor.

Book Arts Concentration

Learn first-hand the traditions and history of the book through courses in printing, bookbinding, calligraphy, and other topics. In the Book Arts concentration, you'll work with skilled instructors on campus and through internships at prestigious institutions, preparing you for graduate programs in book arts and conservation. As a graduating senior, you'll work in a close cohort to develop and mount your thesis as a print edition or exhibition in the String Room Gallery as the capstone to your undergraduate work. Book Arts is available as a concentration within the Visual Arts major or as a minor. Learn more about the Book Arts Center at Wells.

A Look Inside the Visual Arts Bachelor’s Degree Program at Wells

Our visual arts program emphasizes flexibility and self-discovery, supported by a level of individual attention and one-on-one mentorship you won't find at many universities. We're a small college with small classes, but you won't have to wait for studio time or equipment. Wells is also centrally located to the major art capitals of the eastern United States, with a strong regional culture of art production in and around Aurora, N.Y. We travel often to look at art and work in the field, and bring visiting artists and critics to campus as well in partnership with the String Room Gallery.

As a visual arts major, you'll have a variety of opportunities to interact with working artists and develop your craft through responsive coursework, internships and many forms of experiential learning. You'll work towards the design and execution of your own senior thesis art exhibition, preparing you for experiences and careers beyond undergraduate study.

As a Visual Arts Major, You'll . . .

  • Work across disciplines, methodologies and materials to develop and sustain your personal art practice in a studio setting
  • Engage the stakes of a professional visual arts practice through interaction with the String Room Gallery, Book Arts Center, and professional internships
  • Explore the complex relationships between art and society (and culture, and ecology, and . . .)
  • Become conversant in modern art concepts and contemporary trends, global traditions and frameworks, and past artistic epochs
  • Participate actively in shaping your own path through the major!

Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning in the Visual Arts Bachelor’s Degree Program

Learn how to curate and install an exhibition for the public, and hold an opening reception as a student assistant with the String Room Gallery. Create a cohesive body of work and plan your own senior thesis exhibition. Interact closely with working artists through internship programs as well as our partnerships with galleries, museums, and archives in the local New York region and beyond. As a visual arts major at Wells, you’ll have abundant opportunities for hands-on learning to prepare you for real-world endeavors.

Internship and Study Abroad Opportunities

These are just a few of the internships in the field of visual arts held by Wells students in recent years:

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

Paint from a rooftop in Florence as you study Renaissance art at its roots. Or pursue your artistic vision in Japan, England or Germany. Visual Arts majors can pursue programs around the world. Learn more about study abroad programs at Wells.

Visual Arts Clubs and Other Aurora Campus Programs

Visual arts majors can enhance their work in the studio and classroom by participating in student life—especially cultural activities. Here are a few opportunities that might catch your interest: 

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

Career Options for Visual Arts Majors

A bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Wells College will prepare you for a variety of careers and professional opportunities. Graduates of our program work in museums, art galleries, and art studios, as well as fields such as art therapy, communications and media. Others have gone on to prestigious graduate school programs to pursue further study in the arts. A visual arts major can also lead to jobs with educational nonprofits, historical societies, marketing, libraries and a variety of other settings. 

Apply Now to Pursue Your Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts

Take the first step toward earning your bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts at Wells College. Apply now.

Request More Information

Ready to learn more about Wells College and our Visual Arts Bachelor of Arts program? Request more information.


"I just got a glimpse of the school and I loved it. All you see coming up is the lake, and you just think—oh my goodness—I did not know a place like this existed!"

Abena Poku ’16
Visual Arts: Art History Major, Community Court Chair
News: Art

The String Room Gallery of Wells College is pleased to announce the opening of "Stumbling Stumbling," a solo exhibition by 2022 Artist-in-...


The String Room Gallery of Wells College is pleased to announce the opening of “I tilted over until it becomes...


The Wells Book Arts Center is pleased to announce the return of its Summer Institute this July!

During each weeklong session, attendees can...

Program Faculty
Anna Ialeggio
Assistant Professor of Studio Art; Co-director of the String Room Gallery
Tara Kohn
Assistant Professor of Art History; Co-director of the String Room Gallery
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.


Our mission is for every student to think critically, reason wisely and act humanely as they cultivate meaningful lives. On our beautiful lakeside campus, students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to create their own unique path.

170 Main Street, Aurora, NY 13026
Admissions: 800.952.9355 |
General Information: 315.364.3266
© 2023 Wells College
The following email addresses are a honeypot intended to test automated bots' ability to parse encoded addresses. Please do not contact these addresses.