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The Study of Art History

Art is the document of human creative activity. It describes vanished cultures and enigmatic modern ones. Art history seeks to interpret the art of the past and to stimulate a dialogue between the visual object and the verbal explanation. The study of art history expands our understanding of peoples of the world and their unique cultures. As one of the traditional liberal arts disciplines, art history provides special insights into the roles of art and the artist in our society.

Art history at Susquehanna focuses on current issues in the theory and criticism of art. It develops students' experience with original works of art, as well as with the written word. Classes are taught with a multi-media approach to images of art from major museums around the world. New computer technology at Susquehanna makes it possible to study art history individually as well as in the classroom. Students also learn together, cultivating their experience with aesthetic ideas described in historic objects from various cultures. They regularly visit some of the nation's finest museums to study major artists and art movements found in famous collections.

Students are also encouraged to participate in the organization, research and handling of exhibitions at the university's Lore Degenstein Gallery. Building upon the art history class experience, they bring their ideas into the gallery, where they can be shared with the public. On occasion, opportunities develop for students to publish their writings in exhibition catalogs and to prepare display texts for the gallery walls.

The Study of Art

The studio art program emphasizes concepts, visual perception, and analytical approaches to each student's individual artwork. Studies in art history of great masters of the past complement studio courses. Majors develop basic understanding of critical principles, as well as manipulative skills in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media. Courses included fundamentals of design, drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture, as well as art history.

Experience in the studio begins in the freshman year. This provides students a full four years to develop their individual style and techniques. The department encourages students to discover their own visual language based upon a solid backdrop of introductory courses in design and drawing. Throughout their college careers, art majors also study art history, including 20th-century art, to increase their understanding of contemporary art.

The Study of Graphic Design

The major in graphic design provides students with experience in the study of art and art history with a focused experience in the study of graphic design. Courses are intended to challenge students in the methods, theories, history, visual vocabulary, craft, cultural context, and technologies relevant to the contemporary graphic designer. Students are expected to grow as thinkers, scholars, and artists; they are prepared to take an active place in the professional world or a graduate program. Design students are introduced to the profession through field trips, lectures, and internship opportunities.

Interdisciplinary Options. Students majoring in art history can complete a minor in another department, particularly where objectives overlap. Foreign language studies, providing proficiency in both speaking and reading, facilitate communicating in an off-campus study program overseas or in reading scholarship from non-English art historians. This is also an asset for art history majors competing for graduate school positions. A business or communications minor provides additional foundation in practical aspects of gallery and museum management.

Similar opportunities await the student majoring in art. Business and management skills provide an important component of careers in creative processes.

Art History, Studio, and Graphic Design Internships. The department encourages art history, art, and graphic design students to apply for special internships in their fields. These opportunities provide an introduction to professional art experiences. State and regional museums offer positions that sometimes pay a small stipend. Several local companies support internships in advertising design and photography services. The university's Lore Degenstein Gallery also offers an intern program in gallery operations with projects tailored to students' individual interests.

Off-Campus Study. Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to spend a semester or a year studying art off campus. Susquehanna art and art history majors have access to art centers all over Europe, particularly in London, Florence, the south of France, and Paris. A liberal arts program at Regent's College in London is one of the special programs available to art majors. Others may choose extended off-campus study in this country in New York or Washington. New centers are added to this list each year. This experience enriches the artistic spirit and opens up avenues for future careers. Students with foreign language interests can combine language and art studies abroad.

Honors Courses. The department periodically offers courses for honors credit. These typically address specific critical issues in art history. Students participate in lively discussions through weekly presentations of current problems in the art world.

The Department of Art awards honors status for graduation for students receiving a 3.4 or higher GPA in the art or art history major. Only four internship hours may be considered in this calculation.

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