Program Information

Visual Arts is a component of Augustana's Creativity and Culture program. For more information on a degree in Creativity and Culture, click here. For more information about specific course offerings, please check the Academic Calendar.

Areas of study in Augustana's Visual Arts courses:

1. Foundation Studies

Art-making is explored with basic techniques in drawing and colour media. The visual language of perception and expression is introduced using principles of composition. Aesthetic and psychological principles of visual organization are applied to elements of line, shape, colour, and texture. Teaches a range of basic techniques in acrylics.

2. Drawing

Drawing courses are designed to develop basic perception and recording skills. Historical and contemporary methods are explored primarily on the basis of direct observation from life.

3. Painting

Painting courses build on the skills developed in both the Drawing and Foundation sections of the program. Assuming no previous experience, these courses teach a range of basic techniques in oil media. Students are exposed to historical and contemporary practices, so that a personal direction can be initiated.

4. Sculpture

Sculpture begins at the foundation level with three-dimensional spatial studies that form the basis of negotiating the aesthetics of volume, mass, and light. Media have included clay, plaster, paper, wood, foam blocks, and found materials. At the advanced level, students tackle these concerns with more technically and conceptually complex projects.

Art History: the Legacy of Visual Culture

Our art history courses begin with a broad exploration into the array of visual culture of different times and places. Not only does this demonstrate the variety of art in history, it introduces students to methods of visual thinking and research. Following this, in-depth courses provide closer studies of specific developments and ideas found inter-twined among art, culture, and society. These courses provide more than a litany of dates and images; through analysis and discussion they offer ways of looking at art that reveal its extensive influence on our ways of life.

Learning Outcomes

Students are closely mentored in small classes as they build a program of artistic inquiry that involves research, production, and discourse. Consequently, our graduates are thinkers, creators, and communicators.

  1. Thinkers. Our graduates will:
    • Discuss artistic precedents to their own practice, demonstrating a background in the history of art.
    • Understand art historical and theoretical concepts, and be aware of the context in which they are working as new art-makers.
    • Interpret texts from the relevant literature and locate visual resources in order to conduct independent research.
    • Think flexibly. Our students learn to transfer studio skills (think abstractly; devising solutions to complex visual problems; brainstorming) to other areas of scholarship.
    • Discuss visual art's engagement with society's broader cultural discourses.
  1. Creators. Our graduates will:
    • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of traditional skills, material processes, and studio practices and their relevance to and within contemporary art practice.
    • Develop cognitive and visual solutions to theoretical problems.
    • Employ visual strategies to build engaging and intellectual works of art that marry an exploration of technique with larger theoretical concerns.
    • Develop strategies and processes that stimulate imaginative and innovative responses to visual problems that can also be applied to other areas of scholarship.
    • Be inspired, and inspire others, to examine/challenge established positions, explore new ideas, move beyond the familiar, and have the confidence to take the necessary creative risks that lead to change and innovation.
    • Engage with the larger visual/cultural world as imaginative, creative, and intellectually curious members of society.
  1. Communicators. Our graduates will gain confidence as:
    • Communicators: Graduates can discuss ideas visually, verbally, and in written form. Because visual art is not merely a tool for depiction, but also a language designed to interpret and convey ideas, our graduates are fluent visual communicators.
    • Presenters: Graduates can engage the language of visual art; they present and discuss their work at student conferences; and they understand the processes of showcasing artwork in public exhibition spaces.
    • Critics: Graduates can analyze, discuss and comment on artwork in a critical context.
    • Collaborators: Graduates of the program have worked in groups and learned to thrive in team environments.