The Department of Art brings together a faculty of more than 30 artists, architects, and art historians. Consequently, equal weight is given to studio practice and historical analysis. Courses focus on the creation and study of images and the built environment and seek to foster an understanding of visual culture and human expression in a given time and place.
There is one, unified art department; however, within it there are three plans of concentration:
It is also possible to minor in these areas, as well as a fourth category, Graphic Arts. Many courses are offered in alternate years; students should plan their schedules accordingly.
Art students take courses in the history and practice of art, specializing in one of three areas: art history, studio art or architecture. About 125 students major in art in a typical year, and more than 1,500 enroll in art classes annually, making the department the most popular on campus.
Smith's 90 art courses provide a firm understanding of the materials and methodology used in many historical periods. They also enable students to develop critical and analytical skills.
Many of the 60 art history courses trace the Western artistic heritage from ancient Egypt and Greece through the Middle Ages down to the present day in Europe and the United States. Courses in the arts of Japan, China, India, Tibet, Korea, Africa, the Islamic realms, the Pre-Columbian Americas and the Native American peoples are also offered. Additional course choices have included The Art and History of the Book and Trading Partners: Visual Cultures and the Economics of Exchange. A program in architectural studies includes courses in the history of architecture, urbanism and landscape studies, and studio classes in drafting, furniture building and model construction.
Studio courses, 30 in all, include introductory design and drawing, photography, computer design, etching, painting, and offset printmaking. A yearly print workshop brings together prominent artists, students and master printers. Instruction on several levels is also offered in typography, watercolor, sculpture, lithography, digital art, woodcut and installation art.
Extracurricular art activities include college-sponsored trips to city museums, campus and community gallery exhibitions, and visits by practicing artists and museum curators.