School of Art

School of Art
Roland Dille Center for the Arts 161
(218) 477-2151 or 477-2317
Laurie Blunsom
Faculty: Anna Arnar, Bradley Bachmeier, Zhimin Guan, Lauren Kinney, Carlos Pacheco, Jim Park, Sherry Short, Wil Skynkaruk, Kelli Sinner, Patrick Vincent, Chris Walla
Staff: Kenneth Brown, Shirlee Holland

Department Goals and Philosophy
Most human perception is based on stereotyped conceptions of the world around us. The study of visual art breaks down those stereotypes providing a truer understanding of the physical world and its workings. This understanding then forms the basis for the effective communication of personal ideas and concepts through visual and tactile media.

The programs in the School of Art teach students the basic principles of art, instruct students in the use of materials, encourage the investigation of the creative process, and provide a framework for understanding the field of art in the historic and contemporary context. This knowledge forms the basic visual and conceptual vocabulary that is used to explore one’s personal expression. The department also emphasizes the benefits of a balanced liberal arts education. School of Art majors are prepared to perform competently whether they go on to professional practice, teaching or post-graduate study.

The School of Art and its programs are accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Degrees offered by the School of Art

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education
  • Bachelor of Arts in Art History

The School of Art offers the following minors and certificates:

  • Minor in Studio Art
  • Minor in Art History
  • Minor in Art Therapy
  • Certificate in Scientific Illustration
  • Certificate in Sequential Art
  • Certificate in Book Illustration
  • Certificate in Professional Portfolio Development

Emphasis areas in Studio Art
Students working toward a degree in Studio Art may declare an emphasis in any of the following areas:

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing and Illustration
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

Emphasis Area Descriptions

Art Education
The Bachelor of Fine Art in Art Education provides students with the skills, knowledge and practical site experiences to design and deliver art instruction in the grade school system or other venues such as museums, community centers, elder care facilities, etc. Qualifications for teacher licensure in Minnesota and North Dakota will require on additional semester of student-teaching/coursework.

Art History
This program is offered for students whose principal interest is in museum work, teaching in higher education or other fields related to visual arts. Course requirements are designed to familiarize students with the major fields in Art History.

Students learn a wide range of technical skills within the area of studio ceramics. Students are acquainted with the technology of ceramic materials and firing processes while developing sound craftsmanship as a means to personal expression.

Drawing and Illustration
Students enrolled in Drawing and Illustration develop a personal approach selecting from a variety of drawing materials and concepts. Drawing is emphasized as an end in itself, beyond the more traditional idea that drawing is mainly a preparatory process for the development of visual ideas for other media. The Drawing and Illustration emphasis offers students a program integrating advanced drawing skills and digital applications with concepts of narrative development and visual form.

After acquiring a thorough foundation in materials and techniques, students are encouraged to develop personal approaches to form and content, style and expression. Individual and group critiques, as well as slide lectures and demonstrations, guide this process. Internships are encouraged.

The emphasis in Photography includes both traditional and contemporary approaches to Photography, encompassing developing, advanced composition, lighting techniques, retouching and negative manipulation, toning, hand coloring and slide processing. Portraiture, night photography, landscape topography and use of large camera format are taught. Students are encouraged to develop individual styles based on self-awareness. Internships are encouraged.

Students learn a broad foundation in printmaking using relief, screen print, intaglio, monotype, and lithographic processes. They explore conceptual as well as technical development through traditional and experimental methods in print and image making. Students acquire historical knowledge of the medium, as well as develop individual, contemporary perspectives with regard to their own work.

Students are exposed to a broad range of materials, processes, techniques, and concepts as they pertain to both traditional and non-traditional approaches to making sculpture. Topics may include, but are not limited to, wood fabrication, cold and hot steel fabrication, casting methods including bronze casting and mold making, approaches to the figure, site-specific works, self-motivated and self-guided material, technical, and content investigations incorporating unique personal imagery.

Certificate in Scientific Illustration
The Certificate in Scientific Illustration is an interdisciplinary set of courses focusing on illustration in the biosciences.  Students interested in continuing on to graduate work in medical or scientific illustration should work closely with the Certificate Program Coordinator.  Seeking admission to the certificate in the sophomore year is recommended.

Certificate in Sequential Art
The Certificate in Sequential Art is an interdisciplinary set of courses designed for students preparing for careers in comic illustration, printmaking, animation, and other sequential art forms.

Certificate in Book Illustration
The Certificate in Book Illustration is an interdisciplinary set of courses designed to prepare students for illustrating writing and publishing books.

Certificate in Professional Portfolio Development
The Certificate in Professional Portfolio Development is designed for students who already hold a BFA in Studio Art from MSUM or equivalent. Students who wish to further develop their portfolios technically, philosophically, and conceptually will find this program invaluable. This certificate is designed to produce artists who are competitive in the national arena for sought after opportunities in areas such as grants, residencies, exhibitions, and education.
Students must apply for acceptance into the Professional Portfolio Development certificate program by presenting a body of work for review by a committee of a minimum of three art faculty, including the committee chair who must be permanent art faculty and from the studio area being researched. No more than one temporary faculty may be on each committee. For admission to the certificate, students must have an overall GPA of 2.75 and a GPA of 3.0 in art and design courses.


Computer and Software Requirement
All students majoring in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography and entering the 303 course are required to possess a Macintosh laptop computer with appropriate software for the area. Specifications for the hardware and software will be given out in the introductory course or may be obtained from the professors in the photography emphasis.

Colloquium Lecture Series
All School of Art majors must complete the colloquium requirement by attending four colloquium lectures. It is expected the students complete the requirement in their first year of study.

Portfolio Reviews
Students seeking the degree in Studio Art or Art Education are required to complete two portfolio reviews; one in the spring semester of their freshman year, and the second in the fall semester of their junior year. Record of their participation in portfolio reviews is kept on file in the School of Art. Completion of these two reviews is required for advancement to the next level of study. Transfer students must meet with their School of Art advisor during their initial semester in the department to discuss scheduling a review and tailoring the review process to reflect their past experiences.

All students intending to graduate with a BFA in Studio Art, BFA in Art Education or a Certificate in Professional Portfolio Development must successfully prepare a selection of works for exhibition in the Roland Dille Center for the Arts Gallery, and must take part in a group exhibition, as arranged by the Gallery Director. Application for exhibition must be made one semester prior to exhibition (March 15 for fall exhibition; October 15 for spring exhibition). A form recording the successful completion of a student’s exhibition effort is forwarded to the Registrar's Office in preparation for graduation.

Art Education Licensure
To receive the BFA Degree in Art Education, the student must meet the minimum university requirements and specific requirements for the program. Completion of 120 credits is required for this degree which includes the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core (42 credits) and Secondary Teaching Licensure Education requirements (36 credits). Students need to fulfill the School of Teaching and Learning requirements for licensure. Qualifications for teacher licensure in Minnesota or North Dakota will require one additional semester of student teaching/coursework.

Art History Thesis
Students pursuing the Art History degree will write a thesis and give a public presentation in their final year.

Students seeking a BA/BFA in any area of emphasis may seek an internship. Internship requests should be made to the major advisor and must be approved for credit in advance.

Transfer Credit Policy
A student’s assigned advisor or the chair can approve acceptance of transfer credits for Art courses for the department’s foundations program.

Transfer students seeking approval for other Art courses must have those courses approved by their advisor, an instructor in the area of study, and the Department chair. Signatures from the professors involved must be obtained on the Departmental Request for Course Exception form.

Students seeking transfer credit for Art courses will be interviewed by a faculty member in the area of study of the transfer course. The student will be expected to present a syllabus or course outline and portfolio of work produced in the class sought for transfer credit.

Please see this Bulletin for general information and guidelines on the policy for transfer credits outside the School of Art.

In addition to standard MSUM academic scholarships, the School of Art grants Freshmen and Transfer Student Talent Scholarships and Upper Level Scholarships on a competitive basis. Contact the department office for further information.