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 majors:

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

2. The Art History Major 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 Certificate in Community Art, open to all majors. The Certificate in Community Art is an interdisciplinary program that integrates artistic practice with community engagement, and draws on efforts and theories from other disciplines including, psychology, education, politics, environmental studies, and grass-roots activism. The certificate shapes artists who enter 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
Professors, 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 History and Studio Art majors are expected to take ARTH 311 and ARTH 312 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 History Courses

ARTH 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. Cross-listed with PHIL 216.

ARTH 217. Philosophy of Art. (4 Credits)

This course provides an introduction to some of the core questions in the philosophy of art. Questions covered include: What counts as art? How do we decide which cultural objects are, and are not artworks? Why should we care about art? Does art have the capacity to reveal non-trivial truths about the world? And, are different art forms valuable for different reasons? In addition to these more traditional questions, we will consider what attitude - if any - Christianity encourages toward art. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of Visual Arts. Cross-listed with PHIL 217.

Tags: PI, VPAV

ARTH 311. 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

ARTH 312. 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 ARTH 311 immediately before this course is recommended but not required.


ARTH 385. 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

ARTH 395. 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

ARTH 396. 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.

ARTH 494. 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

ARTH 495. Art History Independent Study. (1 to 4 Credits)

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

ARTH 496. Art History Internship. (1 to 8 Credits)

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

ARTH 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. Prerequisite: An "A" in all upper level art history courses taken, admission to Department Honors program, senior standing.

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

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

Studio Art Courses

ARTS 105. 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) Additional course fee required: $50.

ARTS 221. Creativity & Design. (3 Credits)

An exploration of the creative process and basic principles of visual organization. NOTE: This course does not fulfill the entire VPA theme and covers only the domain of the Visual Arts.

Tags: VPAV

ARTS 231. 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

ARTS 241. 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

ARTS 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: ARTS 221 or ARTS 231 or ARTS 241.

ARTS 301. 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.

ARTS 302. 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: ARTS 301. Additional course fee required: $100.

ARTS 305. 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 Visual Arts.

Tags: VPAV

ARTS 314. Community Art I. (3 Credits)

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

ARTS 316. 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. Prerequisite: ARTS 314.

ARTS 322. 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).

ARTS 324. 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: ARTS 322.

ARTS 332. Drawing II. (3 Credits)

Advanced studies in drawing. Prerequisite: ARTS 231.

ARTS 334. Figure Drawing. (3 Credits)

Life drawing. Prerequisite: ARTS 231.

ARTS 341. 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.

ARTS 343. 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. Cross-listed with COMM 345. Additional course fee required: $100.

ARTS 345. 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. Cross-listed with COMM 445. Prerequisite: ARTS 343. Additional course fee required: $100.

ARTS 347. 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: ARTS 322 or consent of instructor.

ARTS 351. 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

ARTS 352. Painting II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of Painting 1. Exploration of contemporary issues in painting. Prerequisite: ARTS 351 or consent of instructor.

ARTS 361. 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

ARTS 362. 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 Visual Arts. Additional course fee required: $100.

Tags: VPAV

ARTS 363. Digital Photography II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of ARTS 362. 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: ARTS 362 or consent of instructor.

ARTS 371. 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.

ARTS 373. 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.

ARTS 375. 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.

ARTS 381. 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 Visual Arts.

Tags: VPAV

ARTS 382. Sculpture II. (3 Credits)

Continuation of Sculpture I. Exploration of more contemporary issues in sculpture. Prerequisite: ARTS 381.

ARTS 396. Studies in Studio Art. (2 or 3 Credits)

Selected specialized areas of studio art as announced. Additional course fee required: $100.

ARTS 491. 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.

ARTS 493. 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.

ARTS 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

ARTS 495. Studio Art Independent Study. (1 to 4 Credits)

Independent work in a selected field of art. Course fee may apply. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

ARTS 496. Studio Art Internship. (1 to 8 Credits)

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