The Washington State University Catalog

Department of Fine Arts

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Department of Fine Arts
FA Center 5072

Department Chair and Associate Professor, S. Meisel; Professors, T. Brown, K. Haas; Associate Professors, A. Bawa (Vancouver), P. Christenson (Tri-Cities), D. DeHart, D. Gast (Tri-Cities), H. Higgs (Vancouver), M. Holloman, M. Kinkel, I. Palmer, R. Safavi; Assistant Professor, J. Hedges; Instructors, H. Meredith, H. Okumura, A. Rocha.

The Fine Arts Department provides a range of experiences in the visual arts. The department offers diverse courses of study leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts (within this degree, there are two options:  an Art Studio option, and an Art History option), Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts. The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts programs are designed to open doors into the world of visual expression and intellectual development. In particular, we encourage students to sample a variety of art disciplines and make an informed choice about their direction in art. The department includes seven areas of emphasis within which to develop a program: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, photography, digital media and interdisciplinary studies. These are supported by a strong art history component.

Students with a BA in Fine Arts - Art Studio Option, should have a broad understanding of the visual arts with an understanding of arts-related concepts/terms (including subject matter, form, and content) and basic studio production, a grounding in art history, and an awareness of contemporary trends in art and theory. They should be able to articulate in visual form a range of approaches, from a representational point of view through a more conceptual focus, make critical judgments about contemporary art and culture, and have an acceptable command of verbal and written expression.

Students with a BA in Fine Arts - Art History Option are given broad exposure to the history of the visual arts. As an interdisciplinary field, art history is an intellectual arena in which students develop their perceptual skills and analytical tools to engage diverse art forms from multiple perspectives. Students begin with foundation survey courses, the History of World Art (FA 201 and FA 202), and then take upper-division courses to consider art from specific cultures and historical time periods. In these courses, students gain familiarity with contextual issues concerning the production and consumption of art. They develop research and writing skills necessary to think critically about art and visual culture. Students are also introduced to basic aspects of studio production to enhance their visual skills and knowledge of material practices. Students complete their studies by writing a thesis paper and developing knowledge of one foreign language.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students with a BFA should have a working knowledge of the processes and media that produce works of visual art, including a clear understanding of the terms: subject matter, form, and content, as well as specialized technical, conceptual and imaginative expertise in a given field. They should be able to articulate in visual form a range of approaches, from a representational point of view through a more conceptual focus, make critical judgments about contemporary art and culture, and have an acceptable command of verbal and written expression.

Certification Process

Prospective applicants for certification are responsible for acquainting themselves with all requirements and procedures. Details including specific course requirements and portfolio submission are available in the departmental office.

Transfer Credits

The Department of Fine Arts will accept up to 18 credit hours in art toward the major and 9 credit hours in art toward the minor.

Exchange Program

The Department of Fine Arts has a tuition-free exchange for four students with the School of Fine Arts at Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan. All art majors at WSU are eligible for this one-year study in Japan. Selection is made in the winter. Other opportunities for undergraduate study abroad in Europe, Australia, and the Far East are available from the Office of International Programs.

Graduate Study

The MFA program at Washington State University is a two-year interdisciplinary program where students may focus in, but are not limited to, ceramics, drawing, digital media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Emphasis is placed on personal and conceptual artistic development in light of contemporary art practices. Graduates meet with faculty for one-on-one studio discussions. First year students have an exhibition in the departmental gallery and the second year program culminates in a thesis exhibition held in the Museum of Art. A final oral examination and a thesis document are also required. The degree requires 57 graded credit hours and 5 credit hours of thesis work (FA 700) totaling 62 credits.

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