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Instruction in a variety of studio art classes is available at Valparaiso University. Courses include drawing, design, figure drawing, beginning and advanced painting, landscape painting, photography, graphic design, watercolor, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking. Instruction in studio art takes place in the spacious, well-lit studios of the Art-Psychology building where space is available for upper level students to create studios. Student gallery space offers exhibition possibilities and long studio hours allow students daily access to the studios. Three-dimensional facilities include welding, woodworking, plaster casting and ceramics. Field trips to such Chicago museums as the Art Institute, the Terra Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as many different art galleries are a common feature of studio classes.

The introduction to painting course includes sessions on painting materials, techniques, and color theory. Students learn to construct and analyze painting by working predominantly from observation, but also with figure and abstraction. The advanced painting course focuses on meaning and content in student work. Through independent and collaborative work, students begin to develop a body of work that reflects their own interests as painters informed by an awareness of art history and contemporary art trends.

Beginning drawing investigates several subjects, techniques and media, including still life, figure, linear perspective, pencil, charcoal, and in/wash. Advanced drawing stresses the nude figure.

Sculpture class builds on three-dimensional work in the first year course called Introduction to Design. Students sculpt in clay, plaster, wood, and cement and work in additive, constructive and subtractive techniques. Ceramics courses introduce students to clay as an artistic medium and include instruction in coil, slab, and wheel.

Studio courses are limited to 18 students so that each student possesses maximum room in which to work, direct access to all equipment, and a great deal of individualized attention from faculty. Teacher-student ratios in the Department of Art are very low and classes are taught only by faculty (no teaching assistants).

There is no portfolio review for admission to the art major. However, prospective freshman art majors will need to present a collection of their work (slides or photos are acceptable) in consideration for a scholarship. The faculty review portfolios from September 1 until February 1 each academic year. Portfolios should include a variety of media.

During one semester of the junior or senior year, studio art majors are welcome to enroll in the Chicago Arts Program, which will allow them to spend a semester in Chicago, working among artists and attending classes at the facility of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Students are able to visit artists’ studios, meet other arts students, and get a full taste of the Chicago art world.