Studio Art

In addition to learning technique, skill, and craft, Hiram art students learn to be "thinking artists" equipped with visual problem-solving, critical thinking, and visual and verbal communication skills. Students are nurtured to explore their own creative vision and expressive voice, as well as develop skills that are more broadly applicable to diverse creative disciplines. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged, and students often combine their studies in art with interests in music, writing, communications, education, biology, psychology, environmental science and many other fields.

Recent graduates have been accepted into graduate programs in interior design, medical illustration, digital arts, architecture and studio art. Graduates with art degrees often pursue careers in graphic design, web design, illustration, communications, publishing, photo journalism, education, medical illustration, architecture, interior design, or as professional or free-lance fine artists, photographers, or designers.

The Program

Art majors take an array of foundations classes in drawing, design, and art history to build a strong knowledge and skill base, intermediate level and elective classes in a variety of fields such as art history, digital art, and ceramics, then select an area of concentration to pursue upper level work in painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, or ceramics and sculpture. Areas of concentration are flexible and can often lead to mixed-media and cross-media explorations. Studio art majors are required to present a portfolio for review by the department faculty during the junior year and an exhibition of a coherent body of artwork during the senior year.

Studio Facilities

The Gelbke Fine Arts Center is a converted factory with 26,000 square feet of renovations designed by the award-winning Cleveland firm of Richard Fleishman and Architects, Inc. Our total classroom and working spaces are greatly enlarged, with studios dedicated to printmaking, ceramics and 3-D art, drawing and painting, photography and digital arts.

Our 70 seat auditorium is ideal for slide lectures and films, and a smaller seminar room is used for art history and a variety of other classes. Art Majors receive spacious individual studios in order to develop their ideas without interruption. The individual studios, as well as most studios and darkrooms, remain open for student use around the clock, seven days a week. To see the new Gelbke Fine Arts Center view the photo tour.

Gelbke Fine Arts Center Gallery

Described by one visitor as "a cultural jewel set in a beautiful rural landscape," our new gallery offers opportunities for students and faculty to exhibit their artwork and to host a regular schedule of exhibitions by visiting artists. Students have the opportunity to exhibit artwork in our annual juried student show and compete for a variety of art awards. Exhibitions by regional, national, and international artists feature artwork that serves as models of technical mastery, formal sophistication, and intellectual engagement. Supporting the educational mission of the department and the college, exhibiting artists are invited to campus to speak at opening receptions and to interact with students and the wider community.

The 1,200 square foot gallery is designed for the display of two and three dimensional artwork, as well as installations and digital video and sound exhibitions, and features professional lighting, security, and archives. Hiram art students have the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience working as gallery assistants.

More on the Gelbke Art Gallery

Study Abroad

Hiram's art department has been a leader in offering off-campus experiential learning opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1959, Hiram's art faculty has created and led on-site art history and studio art courses in countries such as Italy, France, England, Japan and Australia. Art students are encouraged to take advantage of Hiram's study away opportunities, whether art-related trips or otherwise. Study abroad is highly valued as an excellent way to broaden and deepen one's exposure to visual and intellectual sources, as well as developing personal responsibility, tolerance, and global citizenship.

Hands-On Learning

In addition to overseas opportunities, art students at Hiram can explore on-campus and off-campus learning experiences through our assistantship and internship programs. Art majors can gain valuable professional experience by applying to work as photography, printmaking, gallery, or media room assistants within the art department. In addition, in coordination with Hiram's Career Development Center, students can obtain internships at area arts institutions. Recent students have participated in internships at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum in New York City, and Cleveland Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, and with private artists, photographers, and art conservators.

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  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Ceramics
  • Sculpture
  • Interdisciplinary

Required Courses

  • Color and Design
  • Beginning Drawing
  • History of Western Art
  • Contemporary Media
  • Early Modern Art
  • Contemporary Art
  • Senior Studio I
  • For full descriptions, see the Course Catalog.

Each student majoring in art is expected to present a portfolio for review by the department faculty in the first semester of the junior year, to do advanced work in at least one medium, such as drawing, painting, photography, printmaking or ceramics/sculpture, and to produce and exhibit a body of artwork in the Senior Exhibition during the spring semester of the senior year.


For advising and more information, please contact:

Lisa Bixenstine Safford, Professor and Department Chair

  • 330-569-5307
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Gelbke Art