Study Ceramics, Painting, Drawing, Intermedia, Photography, or Art History

Elon brings the worlds of scholarly pursuit and creative expression together in the Department of Art & Art History. The art major encourages students to sharpen their skills and build confidence as artists as they learn the means of self-expression, master techniques for creative thinking and consider the contexts for their work.

The Art program offers excellent preparation for a variety of careers. Art students learn to communicate, give and receive feedback, and develop creative solutions to problems - skills that make art students desirable to nearly all employers. Alumni of Elon's art program find careers in the fine arts, graphic design, art history and art-related fields, as well as business and industry. Other alumni have been accepted to some of the nation's best graduate schools.

Art students at Elon gain a foundation in design, drawing and art history, then build skills in areas that include ceramics, painting, photography, and intermedia/digital art. Students can work exclusively in one medium or across several. The curriculum culminates in a capstone body of work.

When you enter Elon's Art program, you join a community of faculty and students who are excited about Art as a means of expression. Small classes and top-notch studios offer an ideal environment for learning and art making. Faculty at Elon are experienced artists who are eager to share with students their knowledge and enthusiasm.

“At so many schools, art is framed in the academy and solidified in the critique. At Elon, there is a holistic approach that combines technical advancement with critical ideas that produces a student who is not only a craftsperson, but an intellectual artist as well.”

Justin Goodall ’05

Intensive curriculum

Elon’s Department of Art & Art History offers two degrees in studio art: a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts. 

The A.B. is ideal for students who want to combine art skills with other skill sets. It requires 48 semester hours, which gives students the flexibility to pursue a minor or second major in another discipline. Students build on a foundation of art skills and contextualizing knowledge from art history. A core of art studio courses provides flexible access to various media while promising essential depth. The degree includes a synthesizing capstone experience.

The B.F.A. in art supports students committed to a pre-professional program in studio art. With an innovative curriculum, thorough foundation program, rigorous seminars, annual reviews, synthesizing capstone experience and flexible access to various media, this degree offers teaching and learning experiences critical to the development of contemporary artists.

A complementary art history major or minor deepens student awareness of their place in history and provides a theoretical underpinning for current practice. Courses are designed to examine culture and history while training students to research and write about these issues critically.

Talented faculty

Elon’s Art faculty encourage intellectual curiosity and creative expression. They are both accomplished practitioners and respected scholars, and they place a high priority on working closely with students to achieve their goals in art.

Associate Professor Michael Fels makes art using materials ranging from steel, wood, glass, concrete, paint, printmaking, and more. His art has been shown in places ranging from Taiwan, New Zealand, Chicago, Detroit, DC and New York City. Sculptor and ceramist Professor Michael Sanford is a member of Tri-State Sculptors and actively exhibits his artwork nationally and internationally, from Chelsea, NY to Aukland, New Zealand. Associate Professor Anne Simpkins also regularly exhibits her paintings, which address ideas of family life, parenting, and identity. She has produced instructional painting and drawing videos for youtube at

An accomplished photographer focusing on Appalachia, Professor Emeritus Ken Hassell has been a Southern Arts Fellow and a North Carolina Arts Council Fellow. Associate Professor L.M. Wood has received a North Carolina Arts Fellowship for her experimental works on fabric, and a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to investigate the use of emerging digital technologies in photography. 

Associate Professor Samantha DiRosa's intermedia-based work critically explores subjects ranging from Meg Ryan's romantic comedies to the Fukushima nuclear crisis. AssociateProfessor Young Kim is an experimental photo-based installation artist whose work serves as a meditation on time, memory, and the state of the human condition. Both artists have exhibited extensively nationwide and around the world.

In the associated program in Art History, Professor Kirstin Ringelberg has published a book and several essays on issues of identity in modern and contemporary art, the relationships between contemporary art and popular culture, and the ways art history has been written. Associate Professor Evan Gatti studies the relationships between ritual, performance and medieval art and she recently co-authored an annotated bibliography on Medieval Italian Art for Oxford Bibliographies and was co-editor of an interdisciplinary collection of essays.

Associate Professor Shawn Tucker teaches interdisciplinary Humanities courses and his research includes the seven deadly sins and laughter.

Excellent facilities

The Department of Art & Art History is housed in Arts West, which features large, well-equipped studios for ceramics, painting, intermedia/digital art and photography.  Two exhibition spaces provide exposure for student work. The department stays current with the latest equipment and technology, ensuring that students are well-prepared to enter the workforce.

Outside the classroom

Art students have plenty of opportunities to learn more and explore their interests outside the classroom. Art students regularly complete internships, both in the U.S. and abroad. Students have worked at well-known museums, including the Smithsonian, National Gallery of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Interactive Children’s Art Gallery, Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and North Carolina Museum of Art. Others have completed internships in commercial photography, graphic arts, Web design, video production, art education, museum curatorship and education, and interior design.

Art students also get involved in campus organizations such as Blueprint, which sponsors hands-on activities and workshops on alternative ceramics processes, papermaking and glass blowing. Creative Resolution is an organization for students interested in digital art and provides design opportunities, workshops and student exhibitions.

Art students are encouraged to conduct rigorous undergraduate research and regularly present their work at Elon’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).

Fellows program

Exceptional high school students planning to major in art could qualify for the Elon College Fellows or Honors Fellows programs. These programs offer scholarship support, study abroad grants, special courses and much more. Visit the Elon Fellows programs Web site for more information.

Opportunities after graduation

Art graduates pursue a variety of career paths, including fine arts, advertising, graphic design, art therapy, illustration and gallery/curatorial work. Many Elon art alumni have chosen to attend graduate school at institutions including:

  •  Art Institute of Chicago
  •  Harvard University
  •  Pratt Institute
  •  Savannah College of Art and Design
  •  Boston University
  •  Virginia Commonwealth University
  •  School of Visual Arts