Davidson College offers an art major that leads to an A.B. degree in Art, with an emphasis in either Studio or Art History. In keeping with the philosophy of a liberal arts education, students with an emphasis in studio also take a minimum of two courses in art history, while those who emphasize art history complete at least two studio courses. Davidson's art department stresses the close relationship between the disciplines of studio and art history in both an academic and social context. The department averages about 45 art majors.
Requirements for an emphasis in Art History are nine courses in art history -- including Art 100, and in the senior year Art 400 and 402 -- and two courses in studio art below the 300 level.
Declare Art History Major
Art history courses begin with a general survey of Western art, limited to 30 students, as are most classes at Davidson. Subsequent courses cover art and architecture from the classical period to the present as well as the theory of art. Courses on Eastern art, taught by the Director of South Asian Studies, and on Greek and Roman art, taught by the Classics department, count toward the major.
The slide curator and the student assistants make the images covered in each class available for study in the VAC Seminar Room and through the online Slide Review.
The art department tries to engage its students in "doing" art history both in and outside the classroom. They are encouraged to travel to exhibitions and apply for internships in local museums and galleries. Each spring a student is selected to offer a paper at the Collegiate Art History Symposium at the Mint Museum in Charlotte. Most art history majors study abroad during their junior year. Information on the various programs is available from the Office of Study Abroad. Be sure to consult with the chair of the Art Department before you make your final choice. Courses taken elsewhere.
Senior art history majors enroll in a capstone seminar offered on a subject of interest to our art historians. Recent offerings have included visual traditions of the South, the notion of creativity, the Gothic cathedral, Orientalism in French painting, Spanish art, the art of Edouard Manet and the art of Gustave Courbet. The highlight of each seminar is a trip to visit museums, galleries, and historical sites related to the subject. Students also can take a trip to New York (usually at spring break) as part of the modern and contemporary art courses.
Requirements for an emphasis in Studio are nine studio courses -- including Art 397 in the junior year and Art 401 in the senior year -- and two courses in art history, one of which must be Art 100.
Declare Studio Major
Studio art courses begin with a foundation course, in which through the studio the artist's work -- tools, way of seeing, methods, and media -- is introduced. From there, students move into basic courses available in four areas
- Drawing -- the structure and articulation of natural and non-objective forms through the use of line and tone, analysis of composition in a variety of media;
- Painting -- the exploration of oil, watercolor, and acrylic media, pictorial organization and critical dialogue;
- Printmaking -- the history and techniques of intaglio (etching, dry point, soft ground, and aquatint) and lithography (stone and plate);
- Sculpture -- three-dimensional concepts in a variety of media focus on material and spatial relationships, technical processes, and critical dialogue. Ceramics is offered as part of a total program in sculpture, but does not focus on pottery.
Advanced courses in these four areas allow students to explore and develop further complex concepts and techniques with more individualized projects, ultimately leading to a senior oral exam and a solo exhibition for which the student designs and sends announcements, hangs and labels the show, and plans a reception.
Students are encouraged to take independent studies to develop their portfolios. A limited number of individual studios are available to studio majors.
*Note on Consortium Policy
Careers in Art
"What can I do with an art major?"
Certainly creating art and teaching art history are two noble ambitions, but an art degree provides a myriad of other possibilities in museums and galleries, art foundations, auction houses, conservation and preservation, film and television, government agencies, industry, publishing, retailing, visual resources, and writing. Jobs such as grant administrator, corporate curator, art appraiser, and architectural conservationist blend and showcase the interests and expertise of today's art majors.
Art department graduates have gone on to further study and careers not only in art and architecture, but also in medicine, law, and business. Alumni have attended many fine institutions including Cal Arts and the Art Institute of Chicago; the Universities of Chicago, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Texas; as well as Yale, Harvard, and New York University.
Resources on graduate study, fellowships, internships, summer and study abroad programs are available on bulletin
boards in the Belk Visual Arts Center, through the art department assistant, and in the Careers Office and Office of Study Abroad.