Art is an integral part of the Christian liberal arts mission at Wheaton College. In the Art Department, we welcome students into a vibrant community of making and understanding art, in which students are mentored by practicing artists and scholars of faith. Our goal is to create space for empathy and play through experiential and intellectual engagement.  Our classes help students navigate diverse contemporary and historical cultures with visual intelligence as we engage with materials, images, and people.

Graduates of the Art Department have a sophisticated understanding of the visual arts developed in a liberal arts context. Students are equipped to thrive in their creative vocations through internships, professional portfolio development, community projects, and work with major museums. Our students go on to find employment in a wide variety of commercial, service-oriented, and fine art related fields and are accepted into top graduate schools around the country. 

The department offers two concentration options for a major:

1. The Studio Art concentration aims to prepare visual artists in a variety of media, with a focus in one of the following areas: ceramics, community art, drawing, design, film, painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture. The program culminates in a senior exhibition in the art department galleries. The studio curriculum is supported by courses in art history and professional practices.

2. The Art History concentration offers a unique course of study in visual theology, examining both European and wider global artistic traditions from a perspective informed by Christian faith. Working with the extraordinary resources of the Art Institute and the modern architectural capital of Chicago, students learn to navigate art history confidently and develop skills of research, analysis, public speaking, and writing.

The department also offers a 24-credit Certificate in Community Art, open to all majors. The Certificate in Community Art is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide opportunity and exposure in integrating artistic practice with community engagement. Community art draws on efforts and theories from other disciplines including, i.e. psychology, critical pedagogy (education), politics, environmental studies, and grass-roots activism. The community artist is one who enters into the lives of others to bear witness to radical acts of dignity, activate creativity, and share in imaginative story-telling. Wheaton's community art certificate includes an internship that leads students to consider local and global applications of community art principles. 

Suggested Computer Equipment: Art students are encouraged to choose a recent Macintosh computer (Mac Air m2) since all software and instruction in relevant areas occur on a Macintosh platform. Adobe Creative Cloud is available to students at a significant discount.

Chair, Associate Professor, Cherith Lundin
Professor, David Hooker, Matthew Milliner
Associate Professors, Jeremy Botts, Joonhee Park, Gregory Schreck
Assistant Professor, Kaye Lee Patton

Art Courses

ART 101. Art Survey. (2 Credits)

Critical survey of the visual arts that equips students to navigate their visual age. Depending on the instructor, this course could be taught with a historical or thematical/material focus, but all versions of Art Survey entail an investigation into visual modes of thought with examples from history and the present. Art majors are expected to take ART 251 and ART 351 (studio art and art history concentrations) or ART 352 (community art concentration) in place of this course. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV.

Tags: VPAV

ART 102. Issues In Art. (2 Credits)

An introduction to the visual arts approached thematically. Only one section of ART 101, 102, or 302 may be taken for credit towards graduation requirements.

ART 205. Experimental Design Studio. (2 Credits)

In this studio course, students will create their own tools and explore ways to reinvent existing methods of artmaking. Personal expression, the visual communication of messages, and collaboration will be encouraged as we re-envision the world. (Open to Wheaton College Summer Institute students only)

ART 211. Painting I. (3 Credits)

Introduction to Painting: concepts and techniques. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV. Freshmen and sophomores only. Others with departmental approval.

Tags: VPAV

ART 213. Printmaking I. (3 Credits)

Studio in making prints: relief printing, intaglio, and lithography. Study of skills and techniques, and appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of the print.

ART 214. Etching. (3 Credits)

Etching is a printmaking technique closely related to drawing that allows for sensitive, nuanced lines and dense, atmospheric areas of tone. In this class, students learn to create evocative images using drypoint, line etch, soft ground, aquatint, and photo-based intaglio techniques. Additional course fee required: $120.

ART 216. Philosophy Of the Arts. (2 Credits)

Examines philosophical issues in the arts, such as the nature of creativity, the categories of “art” versus “non-art” and “high” versus “low” art, the responsibility of the artist to the community, the role of art in society, and the relationships between art and religion.

ART 221. Taking Pictures. (3 Credits)

A basic introduction to photography using simple digital cameras. Students will make pictures in response to visual images and art objects from art history and different cultural contexts. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV.

Tags: VPAV

ART 231. Sculpture I. (3 Credits)

A basic introduction to sculptural practice, concepts and techniques. Students create work in response to historical and contemporary artworks and consider a theological approach to the creative process. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV.

Tags: VPAV

ART 232. Drawing I. (3 Credits)

Working from observation, students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and represent form, space, and light. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV. Freshmen and sophomores only. Others with departmental approval. Additional course fee required: $100.

Tags: VPAV

ART 233. Creativity & Design. (3 Credits)

An exploration of the creative process and basic principles of visual organization. (Freshmen and sophomores only. Others with departmental approval.)

Tags: VPAV

ART 234. Digital Studio. (3 Credits)

An introduction to the language and technology of digital media that combines history, theory, and practice to explore the intersection of art and technology. Additional course fee required: $100.

Tags: VPAV

ART 251. History of Art & Architecture I. (4 Credits)

Introduction to select periods of art and architecture from cave paintings to the cusp of the modern era (c. 1700), including pyramids, ziggurats, Israelite visual culture, Greek and Roman art, Byzantine icons, Gothic cathedrals, and the art of the Renaissance, Reformation and Baroque. Special attention is given to creative Christian readings of global mythology and world religions.

Tags: GP, HP

ART 291. Sophomore Cornerstone. (3 Credits)

A discussion of art and artists, theological views of artistry, and art theory in the 20th and 21st centuries. These are examined in light of various traditional Christian views of the relationship of the Christian person to culture. We explore how theological and cultural attitudes, along with artistic theories and methods, can shape the form and direction of artistic work. Each student is encouraged to evaluate and develop his/her own method or response to God, the created world, and cultural realities, through artistic means. Pre or Corequisite: Two of the following courses: ART 232 or ART 233 or ART 234.

ART 293. Mentoring Seminar. (1 to 4 Credits)

Faculty and student collaboration on a project of mutual interest. Limited enrollment – faculty approval. May be repeated.

ART 302. The Understanding of Art. (2 Credits)

The origin and development of the fine arts; the functional and aesthetic qualities of art. Only one section of ART 101, 102, or 302 may be taken for credit towards graduation requirements. For transfer and upper division students.

ART 312. Film & Darkroom Photography. (3 Credits)

Basic studies in design and composition, camera operation, technical mastery of black and white film and paper, darkroom procedures. Emphasis on aesthetic and perceptual awareness, visual literacy, proficiency in the use of analog photographic materials and processes. Study of major works and significant photographers. Cameras and basic equipment available for check-out.

ART 313. Printmaking II. (3 Credits)

Advanced study developing skills and techniques in one printing medium. Prerequisite: ART 213.

ART 314. Relief Printing. (3 Credits)

This course introduces basic woodblock carving and relief printing processes, with a focus on achieving complex colors through reduction and multiple block printing. Additional course fee required: $120.

ART 316. Ceramics I. (3 Credits)

A general introduction to ceramics through hand-building techniques with an emphasis on the vessel as a vehicle to explore issues in contemporary art. Introduction to the technical skills, history, and thought process of working with clay. Historic and contemporary approaches to ceramics are considered as means to develop a personal approach to the material. Additional course fee required: $100.

ART 318. Graphic Design I. (3 Credits)

Typography; Students will engage the fundamental principles of design in structured and experimental ways. There will be primary focus on typography: its history, organization, and the relationship between the expressive quality of form and the communication of meaning. We will work both with our hands and also in the digital environment; exploring the basic type and layout capabilities the computer affords (Adobe Illustrator and InDesign).

ART 319. Documentary Photography. (3 Credits)

Foundation course using photography as a creative tool for field work and cross-cultural applications. Exploration of contemporary theory and practices.

ART 321. Wood Fired Ceramics. (3 Credits)

A basic introduction to ceramic practice with particular focus on the history and practice of wood-kiln firing. Taught at HoneyRock. Room and board fee is required. Transportation is not provided. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV.

Tags: VPAV

ART 323. Figure Drawing. (3 Credits)

Life drawing. Prerequisite: ART 232.

ART 324. Digital Photography II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of ART 383. Photography explored creatively, informed by contemporary artistic concepts and methods. Students may explore documentary, artistic, and/or commercial practices, studio portrait lighting, animated 'moving' images, entrepreneurial possibilities. Prerequisite: ART 319 or 383 or consent of instructor.

ART 325. Cinema. (4 Credits)

A study of the cinematic arts from its inception to current times. The focus will be on the critical film theory and aesthetic, technological, historical progression of the world cinema.

ART 326. Digital Filmmaking I: Narrative. (3 Credits)

In Digital Filmmaking I, students will learn the technical, aesthetic, and logistical rudiments of narrative filmmaking. Class sessions will consist of lectures, critiques, screenings, technical seminars, and labs. Each student will conceive, produce, direct, and edit short narrative films using digital filmmaking technology. Additional course fee required: $100.

ART 327. Painting II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of Painting 1. Exploration of contemporary issues in painting. Prerequisite: ART 211 or consent of instructor.

ART 328. Advanced Digital Studio. (3 Credits)

(Formerly Web Site Design); Students will create and design content for the digital and web environment. Projects will be at times linear/narrative, but also interactive and engaging new and open source applications. Prerequisite: ART 318 or consent of instructor

ART 329. Community Art I. (3 Credits)

History and theories of community-based public art. Practical experience researching and initiating a community-based public art project.

ART 332. Graphic Design II. (3 Credits)

Visual Systems; Students will integrate typography and imagery in more complex systems and programs, with additional focus on Information design, publication design, and an introduction to motion sequences. We will also read and discuss writings of historical significance to the field. Prerequisite: ART 318.

ART 336. Ceramics II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of skills and issues introduced in Ceramics I, with emphasis placed on the potter’s wheel. Introduction to glaze chemistry, with the goal of developing a personal palette of glazes. Prerequisite: ART 316. Additional course fee required: $100.

ART 339. Sculpture II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of Sculpture I. Exploration of more contemporary issues in sculpture. Prerequisite: ART 231.

ART 343. Screenwriting. (4 Credits)

An overview of the craft of writing and producing a feature narrative screenplay. Students will write their own scripts and learn the process of script breakdown, storyboarding, location hunting, and scheduling for media production.

ART 345. Archaeology of the Classical World. (2 Credits)

Excavations, monuments, epigraphic materials, and papyri from the Minoan, Mycenaean, Aegean, and Greco-Roman times. Prerequisite: ARCH 211 or 213.

ART 351. History of Art & Architecture II. (4 Credits)

This course offers an introduction to art and architecture from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries primarily in Europe and North America, with special attention given to the city of Chicago and diverse American artistic voices. Movements explored include Rococo, Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Medieval revivals, Impressionism, Modernism, Pop, Conceptual, and especially the art of minority communities. Taking ART 251 immediately before this course is recommended but not required.


ART 352. Medieval & Byzantine Art. (4 Credits)

This course explores premodern Christian ways of seeing strategy for navigating our hyper-visual age. After examining the earliest Christian art and architecture, we follow developments in Constantinople alongside the Celtic and Carolingian art of the medieval West. The maturity of these civilizations as expressed by Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic art then gives way to the limitation of images as emphasized by the medieval mystics. Attention is given not just to studying, but practicing ancient forms of Christian spirituality as well. Alternate years in Spring semester.

Tags: HP, VPAV

ART 353. Renaissance and Reformation Art. (4 Credits)

This course employs the Renaissance and Reformation as templates for Christian aesthetic and spiritual development, exploring art from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in Late Byzantine, Italian and Northern European contexts, with special attention to the way the Protestant Reformation conflicted with and was propagated by artistic production. Alternate years in Spring semester.

Tags: HP, VPAV

ART 375. Studies in Studio Art. (2 or 3 Credits)

Selected specialized areas of studio art as announced.

ART 381. New Media Art & Criticism. (3 Credits)

A workshop exploring the aesthetics of new screen media and digital interfaces. Assignments and projects will explore digital convergence, digital interactivity, digital spaces, digital temporalities, and digital narratives. Prerequisite: ART 318 or 326 or 383 or 383. Also, by consent of instructor.

ART 382. Art & Technology. (3 Credits)

A workshop exploring some of the issues at the interface between the creative process and the possibilities offered by technological efficiencies. The course will engage a variety of theoretical models while students complete projects with digital video.

ART 383. Digital Photography I. (3 Credits)

Basic studies in design and composition, camera operation, applicable technologies, visual literacy. Introduction to Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and related software. Emphasis on developing creative personal practices informed by art history and contemporary visual culture. Study of relevant works and significant artists. Cameras and basic equipment available for check-out. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of VPAV. Additional course fee required: $100.

ART 423. Drawing 2. (3 Credits)

Advanced studies in drawing. Prerequisite: ART 232.

ART 425. Advanced Studio. (3 Credits)

A course for advanced students in all media and studio disciplines to learn how to develop a self-directed studio practice and create a body of artwork. For most students, the work of this course feeds directly into their senior show/project.

ART 426. Digital Filmmaking II: Documentary. (3 Credits)

A production and research class that explores a wide variety of styles and approaches to documentary filmmaking. In Digital Filmmaking II, students will create an online video channel that consists of five short documentary films on topics of their choice. This class is to open the gateway for students across disciplines to explore their talents and interests in the snack-media culture, image-driven society, and in a storytelling era. In this intensive research and production experience, students learn the rudiments of creating various modes of documentary. Prerequisite: ART 326. Additional course fee required: $100.

ART 429. Community Art II. (3 Credits)

A course on the streets of Chicago in which we survey twenty community arts organizations across the city. Site visits and case studies are the sole contents of the course. Intended for Art majors with a concentration in Community Art in the spring semester of their junior year. Prerequisite: ART 329.

ART 471. Studies in Art History. (4 Credits)

In-depth study of some aspect of art history or art historical methodology. Not offered at this time. Alternate years.

ART 491. Art History Capstone. (2 Credits)

Inspired by Christian liberal arts visions from the past, students draw on their entire liberal arts education to develop and visualize an expansive understanding of the liberal arts, combined with contemplative practices. By examining the emergence of the discipline of art history, students ask how the discipline fits into their personal vocations.

General Education: SHAR

ART 492. Internship: Community Art Capstone. (3 Credits)

An internship is an agreement to work within an arts-based organization in a role as prescribed by the organization. Internship service may be paid or unpaid, is chosen at students' discretion, but subjected entirely to advisor/department approval. Advisor will guide students through internship selection process. Internships are a launch platform for community art senior projects and should be chosen in regards to students' vocational goals. Prerequisite: ART 329, junior standing, 12 hours logged in major.

General Education: SHAR

ART 493. Mentoring Seminar. (1 to 4 Credits)

Faculty and student collaboration on a project of mutual interest. Limited enrollment – faculty approval needed. May be repeated. Junior or Senior standing required.

ART 494. Studio Art Capstone. (2 Credits)

In this course, students recollect who they are as artists and how their liberal arts education has shaped their practice. Students develop their personal and artistic mission and goals with an emphasis on building a sustainable practice, and create portfolios and other appropriate presences such as resumes and websites. In addition, there will be discussions of selected readings and guest presenters. Offered in the Spring only.

General Education: SHAR

ART 495. Independent Projects. (1 to 4 Credits)

Independent work in a selected field of art. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

ART 496. Internship. (1 to 8 Credits)

Art Department approval. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing with Art major.

ART 497. Exhibition Practicum. (2 Credits)

Group practicum focused on the meaning, development, preparation, and production of senior show exhibitions. To be taken during spring semester of senior year. Prerequisite: successful participation in the Junior Critique process.

ART 498. Honors Tutorial. (2 to 4 Credits)

Reading and research on an art historical topic of their choosing. Students will work with professor to conceive a project and solicit two outside readers who are professors from other departments with related expertise. Prerequisites: An "A" in all upper level art history courses taken, admission to Department Honors program, senior standing.

ART 499. Honors Thesis. (2 to 4 Credits)

Preparation of senior honors thesis. Not applicable to major requirements. Prerequisite: ART 498.