Express yourself

By By Danny Letz

By Danny Letz

You may have noticed the large gray building to the north of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Not to be confused with the business building to the east or the looming social and behavioral science tower to the west, this building stands alone as the home of the U’s Department of Art and Art History.

With a tradition of excellence and continuing contributions to the community at large, this department is a unique place that offers a variety of great opportunities and options for students interested in the creation, study and appreciation of art.

The program offers two separate degrees for undergraduates: a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history.

Students interested in continuing their education in the creation of art are given a broad spectrum of classes and options around which to structure the B.F.A. degree.

Beginning in the first year with a broad study of the fundamental concepts of art (the use of form, the process of creation and the technique of said creation), all art students are required to undergo this comprehensive first-year studio process before deciding upon a specialization. The department offers specializations in ceramics, graphic design, illustration, painting/drawing, photography/digital imaging, printmaking and sculpture inter-media.

In addition to classes designed for art majors, the department also offers classes for non-majors interested in continuing their education in the arts.

Josh Davis, a senior in audiology, Asian studies and international studies, uses these classes as a means of relaxing and reconnecting with his artistic side.

“For me, it’s like a vacation. Sometimes you get bogged down by school, but art courses give me the opportunity to take a vacation from reality and express myself almost daily,” said Davis.

And for students interested in exploring the historical effects of all aspects of society (political, economic, social, religious, scientific, etc.) upon art, the department’s B.A. in art history combines a broad range of interdisciplinary concepts to construct a degree that gives students a diverse education in the liberal arts.

Cori Swisher, a senior majoring in French and art history, related her experience with the art history department.

“It’s really amazing, the plethora of things you can do with an art history degree,” Swisher said.

“Art history covers all aspects of life, from the cultural to the domestic. On the same day you can be learning about High-Renaissance art, and then two hours later learning all about Buddhist art, so there’s a huge international aspect in addition to the historical. Definitely not a Spartan education,” she said.

At the graduate level, the department offers a Master of Fine Arts with specialties that mimic those offered in the undergraduate B.F.A. program, in addition to an M.A. in art history.

So if you’re interested in a series of engaging courses designed to stimulate your awareness of the arts, or if you’re looking to improve and hone your skills as an artist, or if you’re just interested in doodling something more than the pictures you draw in between your class notes, then check out what the department of art and art history offers.