Visual Studies

The Visual Studies area emphasizes real-world skills to equip you for future employment and work as a practicing artist. You will acquire skills including digital imaging, curating, exhibition and project organization/management and video and sound production. The curriculum is structured to allow Visual Studies majors to gain concentrated experience in other areas of the department. Visual Studies alumni exhibit their work, curate exhibits in galleries, museums and other public venues and are active participants in the community.

Degree Options

BFA is Studio Art - Visual Studies Emphasis

Students may pursue a B.F.A. in Studio Art in this emphasis. The B.F.A. in Studio Art is designed for students interested in a professional degree in art or design. This degree will prepare students for a career as a professional Artists. Aside from Visual Studies, seven other Emphasis Areas are available to choose from in the B.F.A. degree.


BA/BS in Art Education and Visual Studies Emphasis

Students may also pursue a BA or BS Degree in Art Education with a concentration in Visual Studies. 


Dulcee Boehm
Visiting Professor

Paul Wittenbraker
Visual Studies Area Coordinator


Learning Environment

Students working on their assignments in the Visual Studies classroom


This emphasis area incorporates interdisciplinary approaches and stresses the role of digital media and context as primary considerations for the production and analysis of visual works. Using an integrated approach, the program equips majors with an essential array of technical, conceptual, political, and social capacities needed for effective cultural work. The emphasis also encourages interaction with the local community and facilitates students working collectively and interpretively with the civic environment.



Visual Studies Facilities


The visual studies program incorporates work inside and outside the traditional classroom setting. The primary lab studio includes work spaces as well as critique areas for discussion and production. There are also ample technological resources for students work in video, sound, curatorial, and digital image-based media. Community-based workspaces and installations facilitate students working collectively and interpretively with their civic environment.

Students' Works

Course Catalog

Visual art methods are used to study, form, and present art in a specific public context. Includes the development of a project site, individual and collaborative work, and service learning. Studio operates “in public” presenting lectures, visual displays, and public gatherings. Part of the Identity Issue. (May be repeated once for credit.) Offered every third fall or winter semester. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Credits: 3

Curatorial Studio explores presentational and critical practice and the theoretical discourse specific to such practice within a studio context. This involves the curation (study and creation of visual presentations) in exhibitions or projects. Part of the Information, Innovation, and Technology Issue. Offered every third semester (fall and winter). (May be repeated once for credit.) Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Credits: 3

Image studio explores the creation, use, and presentation of images and the theoretical discourse specific to such practices within a studio context. The studio incorporates uses of current image creation and presentation technologies. (May be repeated once for credit.) Offered fall semester.

Credits: 3

Interactive Studio addresses the study and creation of art works in which the audience is involved in an interactive exchange. Media explored include interactive situations, community collaborations, social/political interactions, and current electronic interactive interfaces. (May be repeated once for credit.) Offered fall semester.

Credits: 3

Space Studio addresses the creation of site-specific works based in the primary form and experience of space typically referred to as ‘installations’. It includes studio considerations of space, site, installation, public art, presentational practices and the related theoretical discourse within a studio context. (May be repeated once for credit.) Offered every third semester (fall and winter).

Credits: 3

Time Studio explores temporal and presentational practices and the theoretical discourse specific to such practices within a studio context. Time-based works include time and change as central elements. This includes ephemeral and kinetic objects, performance, sound works, and works incorporating moving images. (May be repeated once for credit.) Offered winter semester.

Credits: 3

For studio artists and designers about to enter graduate school or professional design studios. Includes a required three-day field trip to Chicago, information concerning resume preparation, exhibitions, interviewing, portfolios, design agencies, galleries, museums, and analysis of the professional literature through written assignments. Students will learn how the professional art world works. Offered fall semester. Prerequisites: Art major and senior standing.

Credits: 3

This course is the final work toward the B.F.A. Senior Exhibition and must be taken in the semester in which students hang their degree shows. Students will work closely with their major professor in their emphasis area, and may have an additional course assigned from their Junior Review. Students must seek the advice of their major professor for the selection of works for their exhibition. They may also seek advice of any other faculty members with whom they have worked or from whom they would like additional feedback. Offered fall and winter semesters.

Credits: 6

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Prospective Students are invited to attend one of the High School Student Receptions, held throughout the academic year. Receptions follow the Laker Experience Days.

Attend a High School Student Reception

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For questions about the Visual Studies area, please contact:

Paul Wittenbraker
Visual Studies Coordinator
1117 Calder Arts Center
(616) 331-3578
[email protected]



Page last modified July 30, 2022