Skip to main content

The Undergraduate Program in Studio Art

CHAIR – Mark Hosford
PROFESSORS – Mel Ziegler (Paul E. Shwab Chair in Fine Arts), Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts)
ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS – Mark Hosford, Vesna Pavlović
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR – Jonathan Rattner, Raheleh Filsoofi, Qais Assali
SENIOR LECTURER – Farrar Hood Cusomato
LECTURERS – John Warren, Alex Blau, Patrick DeGuira

EMERITUS – Michael Aurbach, Marilyn L. Murphy

Courses in art are offered in a variety of media, which provide wide-ranging methods and perspectives. Our courses emphasize creative and critical approaches to learning. Many students will use the program in art as a foundation for careers in which creativity and the visual are especially valued, as the basis for advanced training in professional schools (such as art, architecture, museum studies), and for employment in galleries, museums, commercial art, or design-related fields. An important goal of the department is to help students become readers of the rich visual environment in our culture throughout their lives, as well as to encourage creative approaches to learning in all disciplines.

The Department of Art offers several opportunities for extracurricular activities in the arts. Recently a student-run art gallery opened. A new art club called Viral Student Group has begun. BLUEprint is an organization for students interested in entering the field of architecture. Our Space 204 arts laboratory has exhibitions and workshops all year long. Studio VU lecture series brings some of the most important artists working today to campus for lectures and one-on-one studio visits with students.

There are several campus organizations in the arts. The Sarratt Visual Arts Committee allows students to have a hand in curating and hanging exhibitions, as well as hosting art openings at the Sarratt Gallery. Visions sponsors lectures and discussions about the history of art as well as a roundtable of alumni majors, who discuss their current careers and how they arrived at them.

Since 1984 the department has supervised the awarding of the Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award to an eligible senior student. The Hamblet Award provides the means for travel and independent art activity for one year, culminating in a one-person exhibition at Vanderbilt. Students wanting to participate in the spring competition must be graduating seniors who are studio art majors.

The Allan P. Deloach Memorial Prize in Photography was established in 2000 in memory of Allan Deloach (B.A. 1963) by two of his colleagues at IBM. This cash award is open to any student who has taken a studio class in any discipline at Vanderbilt. Midsouth Ceramics awards are given to the top three ceramic projects in the annual open house, and the recently established Plaza Artists Materials award is given to four students each year. All competitions are judged by outside professional artists.

NOTE: New course numbers took effect in fall 2015. Former course numbers are included in course descriptions in this catalog and at this website:

» Pre-Architecture Advising


The art major requires 36 hours and presents our students the opportunity to explore their ideas conceptually, as well as to learn the technical skills involved in the creation of art. The program offers a wide range of classes and media. Our students are offered a strong grounding in traditional processes such as drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpture, as well as the opportunity to explore contemporary processes involving video, performance, digital photographic media, installation, and social interactive art practice. Our diverse faculty of artists/educators represents a wide range of teaching styles and aesthetic philosophies. We consider how ideas have been developed through the centuries as well as how specific techniques have been used to enrich the expression of the idea. In addition to modern art history offerings, art majors are encouraged to take courses in pre-Renaissance, non-Western art history, philosophy of aesthetics, and film. The Contemporary Art Maymester offers an opportunity to study contemporary art in a concentrated manner.

PLEASE NOTE – Although we try to keep information on this website current, please check with the Department of Art to make certain you have the most up to date information on course offerings and degree requirements. This information may vary from what is currently listed on this website or in the course catalog.


Foundation Requirement (6 credit hours)

  • 1101 and 1102

Studio Requirements (15 hours), which must include at least:

  • One 2-D course (ARTS 1600, 1601, 1503, 1200, 1201, 1202, 1300, 2100, 2101, 2102, 2600, 3600, 2200, 3200, 2202, 2300, 3101, 3102, 3300)
  • One 3-D course (ARTS 1400, 1401, 1500, 1501, 1502, 2400, 2401, 2500)
  • One time-based course (ARTS 1700, 1701, 1702, 2700, 2701, 2702)
  • Within the 15 credit hours, students must take one 2000-
    level or higher ARTS courses.

Related Requirement (9 credit hours), which must include one course (3 credit hours) each of the following:

  • Either HART 1100 or 1105 (suggested for entry into 2000-level HART courses), ARTS 1800
  • 2000-level HART course or one course from the following: ARTS 1099, 3891, CMA 1600, 2300, PHIL 3014

Department highly recommends taking Arts 1800 Sources of Contemporary Art course prior to senior year.

Directed Study (6 hours)

  • 3970, Directed Study: Senior Show and Contemporary Practices
  • 3971, Independent Research: Senior Show

Majors are required to complete the Independent Research course, ARTS 3971, their senior year. This course is designed specifically to help prepare majors for their Senior Show and is typically taken in the second semester of the senior year. No other independent research/study course may be counted toward the major.


The Honors Program in the Department of Art offers art majors the opportunity to pursue their interests at a higher level. To be admitted to the Honors Program in Art, students must have:

  • At least a 3.30 cumulative GPA.
  • At least a 3.5 GPA in courses that count toward the major in art.
  • Completed the sophomore year.

Students interested in pursuing the honors program should contact the director of undergraduate studies. Application materials must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies in the applicant’s junior year; applications may be submitted electronically. Applications must include ten digital images of recent work with written explanations of each image. Applicants will be notified in writing of the department’s decision.

Each honors student shall have a committee consisting of one faculty member appointed by the department chair, the student’s selected honors adviser, and the director of undergraduate studies.

Requirements for graduation with honors in art:

  1. Successful completion of the requirements for the major in art.
  2. During the senior year, the student is required to register for ARTS 4998 (3 credit hours) in the first semester and 4999 (3 credit hours) in the second semester in order to complete a written thesis, expanding concepts explored in the senior exhibition.
  3. Successful oral defense of the thesis and senior exhibition during the final semester of undergraduate study.
  4. At least a final 3.30 cumulative GPA.
  5. At least a final 3.5 GPA in courses that count toward the major in art.


The minor in art requires 18 credit hours of course work, including the following:

  • HART 1105 or ARTS 1800;
  • ARTS 1102 (Drawing and Composition I); and four other ARTS courses.

Please refer to the official catalog for prerequisites and more information.



1101. Introduction to Studio Art.
Processes, fundamental elements, and principles of art. Drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, installation, and time-based art. [3] (HCA)

1102. Drawing and Composition I.
Introduction to drawing: visual problems related to observation, idea formation, composition, media, and various forms of expression. Figure and landscape may be included. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1600. Printmaking I: Relief and Intaglio.
Introduction to printmaking media, including relief and etchings. Traditional and experimental approaches. Prerequisite: 1102. FALL. [3] (HCA)

1601. Printmaking I: Screen Printing and Lithography.
Introduction to printmaking media, including screen printing and lithography. Traditional and experimental approaches. Prerequisite: 1102. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1503. Text and Image.
The intersection of art and writing. History, theory, and practice. Zines, posters, photography, new media, and artists’ books. [3] (HCA)

115F. First-Year Writing Seminar.
Topics vary. FALL, SPRING. [3]

1200. Photography I.
Black and white photography. The aesthetics and techniques of the black and white medium: 35mm camera use, film exposure, image quality, and darkroom practices. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1201. Alternative Photography.
Methods in image-making. Photographic narratives, bookmaking, pinhole cameras. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1202. Digital Imaging I.
Creation of still, photo-based images using digital cameras, scanners, and Photoshop software for digital output. Issues that affect contemporary art. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1300. Painting I.
Technical and conceptual aspects of painting. Individual instruction based on ability and experience. Prerequisite: 1102. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1400. Ceramics I.
Introduction to ceramic design and preparation of clay objects. Handbuilding, wheel-throwing, surface enrichment, glazing, and kiln-firing. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1401. Sculptural Ceramics.
Expressive art forms in clay. Assembled components, surface enrichment, and firing techniques. FALL. [3] (HCA)

1500. Sculpture.
Changing concepts, materials, and processes in sculpture. Individual instruction based on ability and experience. FALL. [3] (HCA)

1501. Assemblage.
Additive processes in sculpture. Problems involving found objects, kinetic/time-based ideas, and site-specific installations. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1502. Installation Art.
Historical survey from 1900 to present; studio practice; formal and conceptual issues. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

1704. Digital Animation I.
Animation with computers. Traditional and experimental animations; interactive Web-based projects. FALL. [3] (HCA)

1700. Video Art I.
Video as an art form. Group and individual productions. Viewing and discussion. Project analysis and critique. Relationship to such traditional media as photography and film. [3] (HCA)

1701. Performance Art I.
History, theory, and practice of performance. Vocal studies and conceptual music, personal narrative, performance as a response to the cult-of-celebrity, body art, and performance with new technologies. Collaborative and solo performance projects. FALL. [3] (HCA)

1702. Interactive Portable Media and Cellphone Art
Use of inexpensive media devices such as cell phones, music players, and other portable electronics to create campus-wide participatory events, including art projects, web interactive movements, unexpected musical environments, and grassroots media campaigns. Collaborative and solo projects. [3] (HCA)

1800. Sources of Contemporary Art.
Contemporary studio art practice, issues, and theories. Visual and conceptual influences on living artists; idea formation. Students must participate in artist-in-residence projects. FALL. [3] (HCA)

1900. Social Collective Art Practice. History and practice of making art within the social collective experience. Small group projects based on everyday living in The Commons. No credit for students who have taken 115F section 1. FALL. [3] (HCA)

2100. Drawing and Composition II. Prerequisite: 1102. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

3100. Drawing and Composition III.
Prerequisite: 1102 and 2100. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2101. Life Drawing I.
Prerequisite: 1102. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

3101. Life Drawing II.
Prerequisite: 2101. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2102. Drawing with Color Media.
Drawing on paper with wet or dry color media. Traditional and experimental approaches. Prerequisite: 1102. FALL. [3] (HCA)

3102. Drawing with Color Media II.
Prerequisite: 2102. FALL. [3] (HCA)

2600. Printmaking II.
Advanced study in traditional and experimental printmaking processes. Prerequisite: 1600 or 1601. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

3600. Printmaking III.
Advanced study in traditional and experimental printmaking processes. Prerequisite: 2600. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2200. Photography II.
Concepts and techniques of contemporary photographic practice; experimental projects and workshops using analog and digital media. Issues in contemporary art. Prerequisite: 1200, 1201, or 1202. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

3200. Photography III.
Personal projects and critiques. Interdisciplinary possibilities. Issues in contemporary art. Prerequisite: 2200 or 2202. [3] (HCA)

2202. Digital Imaging II.
Creation of still, photo-based images using digital cameras, scanners, and Photoshop software. Issues that affect contemporary art. Prerequisite: 1202. FALL. [3] (HCA)

2300. Painting II.
Prerequisite: 1300. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

3300. Painting III.
Prerequisite: 2300. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2400. Ceramics II.
Development of ceramic design, both traditional and contemporary, functional and sculptural. Projects develop technical and aesthetic goals. Instruction includes demonstrations, slide presentations, field trips, guest artists, reports. Demonstrations include advanced throwing, complex constructions, glaze development with applications, and kiln-firing. Prerequisite: 1400. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2401. Concept and Clay: Composite Forms.
Technical ability in handling clay and conceptual and interpretive elements in functional and/or sculptural forms. Individual solutions in form and surface. Prerequisite: 1400 or 1401. FALL. [3] (HCA)

2500. Sculpture II.
Prerequisite: 1500. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2704. Digital Animation II.
Art made with the aid of computers. Digital imaging, manipulation, motion, and interactivity. Programs and processes vary. Prerequisite: 1202 or 1704. FALL. [3] (HCA)

2700. Video Art II.
The viewing, discussion, analysis, and critiques. Relationship to photography, film, and performance. Group and individual productions. Prerequisite: 1700. SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2701. Performance Art II.
History, theory, and practice. Vocal studies, conceptual music, personal narrative, performance as a response to the cult-of-celebrity, body art, and performance with new technologies. Collaborative and individual performance projects. Prerequisite: 1701.SPRING. [3] (HCA)

2702 Interactive Portable Media and Cellphone Art II.
Working with laptops and webcams, midi keyboards and digital music players, cell phones, video cameras, and other personal media devices to create art projects. Prerequisite: 1700, 1701, or 1702. [3] (HCA)

1099. Maymester Contemporary Art Blitz.
Intensive review of contemporary art through excursions to museums, galleries, and artists’ studios. Insights from curators, dealers, and films. Cities vary each year. May be repeated for credit. MAY. [3] (HCA)

3891. Selected Topics.
May be repeated with change of content up to a total of 9 hours. FALL, SPRING. [3] (HCA)

3851. Independent Research.
Supervised work in extension of regular offerings in the curriculum. Registration only with the agreement of instructor involved and with the written approval of the director of undergraduate studies. FALL, SPRING. [Variable credit: 1–3 per semester, not to exceed a total of 6] (No AXLE credit)

3970. Directed Study: Senior Show and Contemporary Practices.
Theoretical and practical concerns including professional practices for artists. Students visit exhibitions and discuss contemporary art with directed readings and lectures, participate in critiques, and exhibit their work. Seniors with a concentration in art only. FALL. [3] (HCA)