The mission of the department of Art History and Visual Arts (AHVA) is to educate students in the richness and complexity of the visual arts. Visual literacy is essential for informed participation and innovation within local and global cultures. Combining the disciplines of film/media theory and production, studio art, and art history, AHVA equips students to explore critically the interplay of culture, history, theory, analysis, and practice.

We offer a broad range of courses in the history of Asian and Western art, visual culture, architecture, photography, and film, and studio classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, book arts, video, and digital media. The curriculum prepares students to become professional artists, art historians, filmmakers, media practitioners, scholars, and educators. Graduates have pursued a variety of professional activities, including: exhibitions and screenings in museums, galleries and film festivals; curatorial work and education in museums, libraries, archives, and other non-profit institutions. Students regularly attend graduate programs in fine arts, film and media studies and art history. By the nature of the subject, study of the visual arts requires close personal collaboration between students and faculty. Students should consult with their advisors frequently to determine their individual interests and goals, to assess the level of their artistic or scholarly abilities, and to plan individual programs of study designed to develop the aesthetic questions, technical skills, and research agendas required for the comprehensive project in the senior year. Because the maturation of creative ability requires time as well as effort, students who may desire a major in studio art should consult with departmental advisors and begin taking studio courses as early as possible in their first year, and should declare a major early in the sophomore year. Students wishing to go abroad should plan to do so in the junior year. -- Occidental College Course Catalog


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Art History and the Visual Arts URC Student Scholarship