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About the Department

As long as there has been a Smith College, there has been an art department. Combining historical study and studio practice, we are committed to cultivating visual literacy and to understanding artistic production in different cultures throughout time and in our own media-saturated present.

The major has three paths—art history, studio art, and architecture—and each develops critical skills of thinking, speaking, reading and writing. Students who take our classes deploy multiple methodological lenses to study the meanings engendered by the built environment, objects, images and performances; they may likewise learn digital media, installation, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and typography.

Majors from the art department have gone on to careers as artists, scholars, architects, landscape architects, art librarians, educators, visual resource specialists, conservators, preservationists, curators and gallerists. They have also become editors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and doctors. Whether they major in the field or take a course or two, students have found that informed visual thinking, no less than the pleasure of aesthetic experience, continues to enrich their lives and their work.