Art and Design in Visual Studies

Assistant Professor Katelyn Pattillo
Part-time Assistant Professor Khara Koffel
Part-time Instructor Molly Koehn

The courses in the Department of Art and Design in Visual Studies foster a development of techniques and theories in the visual arts through a rigorous curriculum focused on problem- solving, creativity, and critical thinking. Students will gain the ability to communicate conceptual ideas both visually and verbally to a diverse audience in a contemporary context. This context is understood through research/investigation, analysis of lived experience, and in-class discussions/ presentations, which collectively result in an appreciation of art history and technology.

A major as well as a minor in Art and Design in Visual Studies are offered. As part of the Communication Arts Department, the Art major is inherently interdisciplinary and prepares students for research in related fields. In addition, students may pursue an Individualized Studies major, which can focus on Art but also encompass creative uses of media such as photography, film/video, sound, music, sculpture, performance, and theatre.

Majors & Programs


AR 100: Two-dimensional Aesthetics

An introductory course that introduces the core concepts of visual design theory and aesthetics, using elements and principles of design in the creative process. Strategies in visual design are explored through examples, exercises, critiques, and creative projects. Additional fee may apply.

AR 123: Spatial Understanding in 3-D Design

An introductory course in basic 3D design through projects and exercises in line, plane, volume, space, and texture in three-dimensional form. Students are introduced to simple construction methods using a variety of materials and tools with an emphasis on craftsmanship, problem solving, and ideation in a three-dimensional construct. Additional fee may apply.

AR 131: Visual Perceptions through Drawing

An introductory course that explores basic drawing methods, media, and concepts. Emphasizes drawing from observation with development of proportion, accuracy, value, implied shape, composition, line, edge development, volumetric analysis of form, light, and perspective. Use of wide range of techniques, materials, and subject matter. Additional fee may apply.

AR 204: Visual Communication

Basic graphic design concepts and software with an emphasis on typography, visual hierarchy, and grid layouts. Students will gain a working knowledge of Adobe software used to create and manipulate vector graphics and bitmap images. Additional fee may apply.

AR 225: Teaching Fine Arts in the Elementary Schools

This course is a synthesis of the principles of fine arts (visual arts, drama, and music) teaching and learning at the elementary school level. Emphasis is placed on the integration of creative processes (visual arts, drama, and music) in the elementary school curriculum and instruction, on the teacher as problem-solver and creative artist, and on the creation of classroom structures that accommodate individualization of instruction and creative problem solving in children. Studio projects will supplement lectures. (See ED 225.)

AR 251: Maker Space

A studio course on concepts and creative techniques used in classic and contemporary methods of deconstruction of materials. Methods involve 2D and 3D making. This course will revolve around the development of basic skills and understanding of drawing, painting, fiber, plaster, wood, and metal projects. We will focus on safety, craftsmanship, and creating fluid transitions between concept, execution, context, and intention. This would be a Creative Expressions Studio course designed primarily for majors and minors but open to other students.

AR 344: Motion Graphics and Animation

Digital media arts course covering topics and skills in 2D animation, motion graphics, video editing, composing, and visual effects. Project-based studio art course focusing on broadening the range of digital imaging through the integration of multi-media elements including animation, video, and sound. The primary software for the course will be Adobe After Effects with projects also covering Premiere, Illustrator, and Photoshop. Additional fee may apply.

AR 346: Theories and Philosophies in Contemporary Art and Culture

A survey of contemporary art from mid-20th century to present. Examination of the broader social, cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical developments in which contemporary art was produced, presented and interpreted. Focus on feminism, gender identity, and post-modernism in a global context.

AR 361: New Media

A studio course focused on a range of topics that include materiality, interactivity, time, social media, and exploring forms and technologies identified as new or emerging Through practice research, discussion, and lecture, this course introduces students to the changing new media landscape that is transforming the way we think about the intersection of disciplines, including art, technology, humanities, and social sciences. This is an upper-level course designed for majors and minora

AR 402: Senior Seminar

Independent work in a specialized area of study intended to result in a senior exhibition, a thesis paper, or an internship.