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Department of Art & Art History

Department of Art & Art History

Student artist

The drive to study and create art is a passion that each student finds within him- or herself. At Birmingham-Southern, we help you find your particular passion and then help you refine the skills you need, whether to express your artistic voice or to become a true scholar of art.

Here are some of the strengths of our program:

  • Art students can choose to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA), emphasizing extensive preparation in studio art, or a Bachelor of Arts (BA), which still requires studio work but also allows for more study in other disciplines; the BA is often combined with degree programs in education.
  • We also offer a BA in Art History. Art History students do more than just discuss art, taking studio classes to better understand the artistic process. Some of our classes are team taught by Art and Art History faculty.
  • Our art faculty are working artists with deep roots in the community and work that has been exhibited around the country and the world, which prepares them not just to teach but also to offer perspective on life as an artist. Our art history professors bring up-to-date scholarship and past experiences in some of the top museums and galleries to the table.
  • Our professors have strong relationships with the Birmingham Museum of Art and local galleries, giving students access to permanent collections, special exhibits, and presentations by artists, critics, and scholars. Classes also travel to regional museums and galleries—including Rome, Paris, and Los Angeles—to see the great works in person.
  • Juniors participate in the Junior Studio, exploring themes in contemporary art, developing the depth of their ideas, and writing about their work, which allows them to refine their artist statements. Seniors work in-depth on their portfolio, culminating in a senior thesis and exhibition in the Durbin Gallery. BSC’s January Exploration Term allows students a month to work on an in-depth creative project or pursue an internship off campus. Or they can take a class that looks at art in a whole new way, whether it’s an exploration of cell phone photography, a seminar on crafting toys, or the creation of artist’s books.

To contact the BSC Department of Art and Art History, please write or email:

Department Chairperson, Dr. Kathleen Spies
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Road / Box 549021
Birmingham, Alabama 35254-9021
kspies@bsc.edu


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    Art and Art History Programs

    Kevin Shook with student

    The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) involves a course of study emphasizing extensive professional preparation in studio art. The BFA degree provides the foundation necessary for students interested in the serious pursuit of studio art production and art-related fields of employment. The BFA is also the degree for students interested in pursuing post-graduate study leading to the terminal degree (MFA) in studio art.

    The Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in studio art involves a strong concentration in studio art and art history but allows for a broader spread of course work in disciplines outside the field of art. The BA in studio art is commonly paired with the degree programs in education for students wishing to teach art at the elementary and/or secondary school level.

    The BA in Art History involves a course of study emphasizing extensive professional preparation in the field of art history. This degree provides the foundation for students interested in the serious pursuit of art history and art historical fields of employment such as art conservation and curatorial positions within museums and galleries. It is also the degree for students interested in post-graduate study leading to the terminal degree (Ph.D.) in Art History.

    For more information, including a course listing, see the Birmingham-Southern College Catalog.

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    Learning outcomes

    Upon completion of the art major, students will be able to

    • demonstrate knowledge and conceptual understanding of the visual arts,
    • apply knowledge of the visual arts creatively,
    • communicate visually,
    • develop an analytical and interpretative approach to the visual arts,
    • solve problems and make decisions relevant to the visual arts.

    Upon completion of the art history major, students will be able to

    • utilize art historical terminology and techniques,
    • analyze artworks within a social-historical context,
    • explain theoretical models and practical research methodologies in the discipline,
    • demonstrate written and oral communication skills.
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    Success Stories

    Design your own success

    Our students have gone on to success in many different fields, becoming working artists as well as:

    • graphic designers
    • commercial illustrators
    • interior designers
    • museum/gallery curators
    • college professors
    • staff experts at art auction houses, such as Sotheby’s    and Christie’s
    • art conservationists
    • gallery owners
    • art buyers, for both individual collectors and corporate clients
    • attorneys practicing image copyright law
    • physicians
    • art therapists
    • elementary and high school teachers
    • seminarians

    They’ve gone on to complete their studies in graduate programs around the country including:

    • Maryland Institute College of Art
    • Temple University
    • Ohio State University
    • Mary Mount College
    • University of Colorado
    • Syracuse University
    • University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture
    • Georgia Tech, School of Architecture
    • Auburn University School, of Architecture Rural Studios
    • East Tennessee State University
    • Hunter College
    • Cranbrook Academy of Art
    • New York Academy of Art
    • University of Alabama
    • Florida State University