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 artistic course.

With 24-hour access to studio space, small classes with robust supplies, rewarding internship and hands-on learning opportunities, and our unique connection to the Wells Book Arts Center and other campus resources, the Visual Arts program offers valuable and enriching 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. If you plan to pursue graduate study you should also gain a reading knowledge of French and German. 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, and other areas of visual expression in the Studio Art concentration. As a graduating senior, you’ll exhibit your art in the String Room Gallery as the capstone to your academic work. Studio Art is available as a concentration within the Visual Arts major or as a 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. The senior capstone course culminates in a show of your work and a gala reception. 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 surrounding Aurora, New York.

As a visual arts major, you’ll have a variety of opportunities to interact with working artists and develop your craft through internships and many forms of experiential learning. You’ll also get to design your own senior thesis experience, better preparing you for your experiences beyond undergraduate study.

What You’ll Learn as a Visual Arts Major 

  • Artistic creativity through making art in a studio setting
  • A responsive eye and a sense of visual literacy
  • The relationship between art and society
  • Modern art concepts and contemporary trends as well as the major artistic epochs of the past

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

Learn how to curate an exhibit for the public and hold an opening reception as a student assistant with the String Room Gallery. Design a complete series of artworks and plan your own gallery opening as your senior thesis. And interact closely with working artists through internship programs and 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, New York
  • Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York
  • Testfabrics, Inc., West Pittstown, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Stone Photography, New York City, New York
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 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 places like 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) 

Related Minor Degree Programs

In addition to the Art History, Book Arts, and Studio Arts minors (and concentrations of the Visual Arts bachelor’s degree program) you might also be interested to explore the following minors available at Wells:

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. 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 historical societies, marketing and advertising agencies, department stores, libraries, and a variety of other settings.

Current Work and Research in the Visual Arts Bachelor’s Degree Program

Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, participated in the workshop "Border Regimes: Confrontations, Configurations, and Transpositions" in Switzerland, sponsored by the Walter Benjamin Kolleg of the Universität Bern, where she presented her recent scholarship on contemporary art practices that address global migration and refugee crises.

Richard Kegler, Director of the Book Arts Center, was included in the exhibitions "New Impressions" at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum and "Dada Lives! 100 Artists Celebrating 100 Years of Dada" in Cincinnati, OH. He presented a printing workshop at the 6th International Conference on Typography and Visual Communication in Greece using the "P22 Blox" modular printing block system developed at Wells.

Assistant Professor of Art Katie Waugh contributed to a grant proposal that resulted in $7,500 in grant funding to digitize the Emily Howland Papers, a special collection of the Wells Archives, and incorporate them into New York Heritage and the Digital Public Library of America.

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
image depicting a combination of waves in water and intersecting lines
The Wells College String Room Gallery is pleased to present "W+W / Wires + Waves," a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist and Victor Hammer Book Arts Fellow H.R. Buechler. The Gallery invites all...
News: Art

Wells College recently awarded its traditional academic and student life awards at this year’s Honors Awards ceremony, held June 24, 2020 via a...


The String Room Gallery of Wells College is pleased to announce the opening of "The Strangeness of Structure," a group exhibition curated by...


This November, Wells College welcomes Gwen Saul, curator of ethnography at the New York State Museum in Albany, for a talk entitled, "How Do We...

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.

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