Area and Facilities
Our goal is to develop students’ critical skills and ability to comprehend global visual arts within a social, historical and aesthetic framework. Class format involves lecture and discussion with courses ranging from 90 student lecture survey classes to advanced seminar or group study classes of 10-20. Because of the comparative nature of Art History, majors are required to complete courses in a second field, a foreign language and aesthetic philosophy. A capstone seminar challenges students’ ability to integrate the social, historical and aesthetic significance of visual art in a comprehensive research paper.
Wireless lecture and seminar classes are supplied with podium access to video, DVD, slide, and document projection, including LUNA Insight digital formats. Visual and library resources are available in the department’s Stanley G. Wold Resource Center and through the Morgan Library.
Art History majors have two active student organizations within the Department of Art, the Student Organization of Visual Arts (SOVA) and the Collegiate Organization for Critics and Art Historians (COCAH).
What Students are Saying
From a semester abroad in Italy, to seminar classes that allowed me to work first hand with pieces from the university collection, the opportunities provided to me during my time at CSU were vast and influential. The program offers a wide variety of coursework in both Western and non-Western art, allowing students to figure out their niche within the field of Art History. The faculty is passionate about their areas of research and their enthusiasm shows in both the classroom and in their accessibility to help outside of class. In my opinion, a unique part of the program is the amount of non-Western art courses offered, which allowed me to realize my zeal for African Art, something I had not considered researching in depth before the opportunities to work with and learn about it arose at CSU. The atmosphere around the Art History department is contagious, and I am honored to have spent my undergrad in such a great place! I am pursuing my MA at Georgia State University in the History of Art focusing on African Art.
-Jenny Fleischman,BA Art History
In general, the CSU Art Department has offered me much more than I expected from an undergraduate program. The professors are top-notch scholars who are very enthusiastic about their fields of study. They are very accessible, exciting to be around, and their passion is contagious. The fact that the CSU Art Collection is also accessible for hands-on research is simply incredible. As a second BA undergraduate art history student, being able to apply research to important art objects within a (soon to be) museum collection is virtually unheard of in this stage of a college education. Classes that are designed for this activity allow for the development of skills otherwise reserved for graduate level study or for work in a museum. In addition to this, there is strong support among students themselves in the form of SOVA, not to mention the world-class exhibitions and programming developed in relation to the Clara Hatton Gallery. The visiting artist and critics series provides an opportunity for engagement that definitely keeps the department dynamic and enriching. And as the department is nearing the final stages of construction for the new CSU art museum, I feel like I am at the right place at the right time for education and cultural development. It’s an exciting place to be!
- Cory Gundlach, Art History, 2nd BA
Every art history student at Colorado State University is given a great opportunity to take part in diverse seminar classes to gain an understanding of distinct cultures. During my undergraduate studies, I participated in authenticating valuable art objects. I really enjoyed working with this hands-on process and appreciate the benefits it has given me.
- Corie Audette, Liberal Arts and Art History
Entering now into a 3rd year of a Ph.D. program in History of Art, I’ve had a chance in recent years to encounter a goodly number of peers pursuing the same discipline, and I’ve consistently been pleasantly surprised by how good a BA education I got at CSU’s Art department, one that allowed me to have a very solid base of knowledge not only in my chosen period but across the board, gave me a solid theoretical foundation, and most importantly, allowed me to work closely to develop ideas with professors who were supportive and passionate enough to lead by example and make me want to pursue a future in art history. While at CSU, I got to publish things for the first time, present at a symposium, work on an exhibition – all experiences that were invaluable not only professionally, but also personally. To this day, I draw on ideas to which I was first introduced at CSU and remember my professors with great gratitude and fondness.
Another aspect of the program that I appreciated somewhat belatedly but perhaps more for all that was the studio component, which, as I subsequently learned, is fairly unusual. Yet I’m convinced that having empathy with the physical labor and the experience that goes into the production of works of art has already made me a better art historian, and more importantly, gave me skills to pursue my own creative endeavors, no matter how small, in a non-academic way. In short, I would argue that CSU’s Art department is a place where one who wants to pursue a good education that can allow for both breadth and depth would find herself at home.
- Ksenya Gurshtein, Graduate Student, University of Michigan
I feel very fortunate to have been an art history major at CSU. The small size of the program creates an intimate relationship between the students and the professors. Because of this, I was given many opportunities to do things that I may not have been able to do in a larger department. I had the honor of representing CSU at the Denver Art Museum Student Symposium where I presented an original paper, I was able to be a teaching assistant for several semesters for different professors, worked in the Stanley G. Wold Resource Center throughout my undergraduate degree which allowed me to assist art history professors in their research as well as image reproduction, and I also studied abroad in a small program in Italy. Post-graduation, I returned to the school where I studied in Italy with an internship as the teaching assistant for the resident art history professor.
The art history program requires a second field of study in which each student focuses on a different discipline. I chose philosophy, which in turn became my second major. I was able to pursue my philosophical interests along with my art history studies, as each professor encouraged my desire to combine both fields. Their continued support not only strengthened, but pushed my personal studies. I left the art history program feeling fully prepared for graduate study in art history (I am currently starting the application process for a Master’s Degree in Art History, Theory, and Criticism). I would not have had such a rich undergraduate experience elsewhere, and the compassion, intelligence, enthusiasm, and insight of the art history professors at CSU made this one of the most valuable experiences of my academic career.
-Anna Mascorella, Art History and Philosophy
I am continually impressed with the art history department at CSU. From the first meeting I had with my adviser until now, I have had only positive experiences. The program is small but strong and provides a variety of unique opportunities, fully preparing those students who choose to pursue higher education. The enthusiastic faculty is highly qualified and consists of professors specializing in a wide range of areas including both western and non-western art creating a well-rounded curriculum. Art history students are required to take a number of studio courses to better understand how the art we study is created. Another hands-on element that is particularly unique to the art history department at CSU is the opportunity to participate in seminars where students are able to work directly with art in the university collection. Throughout my time here I have had the chance to participate in two of these art history seminars where I was able to do first-hand research on works of art, help prepare pieces for exhibition by creating gallery labels and cultural descriptions, as well as help build proper storage mounts for works in the collection. These seminars are invaluable experiences that few undergraduate students are able to participate in and give insight into museum work. The art history department also offers out of class learning opportunities including a three-week summer study abroad session in Italy and a week long study of native arts in Mesa Verde. In my opinion the art history department is a hidden jewel at CSU and I am proud to be a part of it.
- Kim Roberts, Honors Art History
I have never felt so at home on this campus as I do in the Visual Arts building. The people here, faculty and students, create a happy and supportive environment for all which encourages creativity and success. This past summer I had the pleasure of traveling abroad to Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy with the CSU Italart program. It was truly the icing on the cake for my experiences with the CSU Art Department. I was given the special opportunity to present my research on a Fra Angelico altarpiece in front of the original at Museo Diocesano in Cortona. I cannot think of a better way to finished my program as an art history student than participating in a little taste of ‘la dolce vita.’ I recommend this program to all those searching for the experience of a lifetime! Prego!
- Jamie Stefanich, Art History