Study Ceramics, Painting, Drawing, Intermedia or Photography

Elon’s Studio Art program 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 historical and cultural contexts for their work.

As excellent preparation for a variety of careers, Elon’s Art students learn to articulate their ideas, give and receive feedback, and develop creative solutions to problems – desirable skills for any employer. Alumni find careers in the fine arts, graphic design, art-related fields, and business and industry. Others go on to attend some of the nation’s best graduate schools.

After establishing a foundation in design, drawing, and art history, students build skills in areas that include ceramics, painting, drawing, 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 Studio Art program, you join a community of faculty and students excited about art as a means of expression and creative problem-solving. Small classes and top-notch studios offer an ideal environment for learning and art-making. Faculty at Elon are experienced artists eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with students.

“As an alum, I realize how much of an impact professors can have on a student’s knowledge, passion, and future success. One of the highlights of my Elon experience was looking at my senior thesis piece hanging from the ceiling, loving everything about it, recognizing all of the hard work I had put into it, and appreciating my committee members and mentors that encouraged me to push my creativity as far as I did.”

Natalie Brown ’18
Parsons School for Art and Design
Post Graduate Studies in Fashion Design

Intensive Curriculum

Students work with visiting artist Bryant Holsenbeck to create installation in Arts West Gallery, 2006

Students work with Visiting Artist Bryant Holsenbeck.

Elon’s Department of Art offers two degrees in Studio Art: a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

The BA is ideal for students who want to combine art with other disciplines. Requiring 48 semester hours of foundational art skills, art history and upper-level studio courses, with a cumulative capstone experience, students have the flexibility to pursue minors or second major in another field of study. See our career pathways page for suggested major/minor combinations to support a variety of professions!

The BFA supports students committed to a pre- professional program in Studio Art. With an innovative curriculum requiring 64 semester hours, students complete a thorough foundations program, rigorous seminars, annual reviews, and a synthesizing capstone experience. With flexible access to various media, the degree offers teaching and learning experiences critical to the development of contemporary artists. Required coursework in art history deepens student awareness of their place in history, provides a theoretical scaffold for current practice, and trains students in critical research and writing.

Talented Faculty

Associate Professor Samantha DiRosa, Artist Talk, Elon University, 2015

Professor Samantha DiRosa, Artist Talk, Elon University

Elon’s award-winning Art faculty are active, published scholars, and practicing artists in national and international arenas. Committed to their student’s success, they encourage intellectual curiosity and creative expression by prioritizing working closely with students. In addition to our permanent faculty listed below, active regional artists are also frequently invited to teach in Elon’s Art department and show their work on campus.

Lecturer Micah Daw is an artist and art educator whose work explores a multifaceted approach to painting. His recent paintings and installations examine how current technologies and visual systems provide an imperfect lens on the human experience of time and space. At Elon, Micah teaches foundations art courses such as Fundamentals of Design and Introduction to Intermedia and Photography. Micah’s work has been exhibited nationally, including venues such as the Urban Arts Space in Columbus OH, Bridgette Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia PA, and the Cue Foundation in New York City. Micah has been an artist-in-residence at Fermenter Artist Residency in Gainesville, FL and Open Wabi Residency in Franklinton, OH.

Professor Samantha DiRosa’s intermedia-based work critically explores subjects ranging from Meg Ryan romantic comedies to the Fukushima nuclear crisis. She teaches a variety of courses in the realm of time-based media, environmental art, expressive arts therapy, and visual culture studies. Samantha’s evolving professional interests are at the intersections of sustainability and mental health, looking specifically at eco-anxiety and eco-grief, and how the arts can serve the healing of personal and collective trauma.

Professor Michael Fels is a mixed-media artist who is a degreed printmaker, a practicing painter, and an exhibiting public sculptor. His works range from mixed media paintings to automated painting machines. He teaches courses ranging from foundations, printmaking, painting, installation art and the senior capstone. Michael has been represented in Manhattan, New York, and Park City, Utah galleries. His art is in private and public collections and has been shown in places ranging from Taiwan, New Zealand, Chicago, Washington DC, and New York.

Assistant Professor Jeanine Hill is a maker whose work seeks to tell stories through the utilization of clay, fiber, wood and a sundry of other materials. The works that she creates often shift from two to three dimensions, taking on the forms of maps, quilts, and visual landscapes. Jeanine has exhibited work extensively both nationally and internationally in such venues as Katara Art Center in Doha, Qatar; Guldagergaar International Ceramics Research Center; The New Gallery in Little Rock, AR; The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, PA; The Harry M. Drake Gallery in St. Paul, MN; The Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN; The Crane Gallery in Philadelphia, PA and Towson University Gallery in Baltimore, MD. Jeanine is an Assistant Professor of Intermedia at Elon University.

Associate Professor Young Kim’s work quietly examines the nature of our own existence through the making of inherently fragile and temporal art objects and installations. Working with elements that have intrinsic history and meaning, in an experimental mode that challenges convention, his work serves as a meditation on time, memory, and the state of the human condition. His work has been exhibited extensively at numerous galleries including Causey Contemporary Gallery (New York, NY), Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (Grand Rapids, MI), 1708 Gallery (Richmond, VA), Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), Redux Contemporary Art Center (Charleston, SC), and Spaces Gallery (Cleveland, OH).

Assistant Professor Paul Travis Phillips is a conceptually driven interdisciplinary artist, curator, and community developer. Travis helps students name their ideas, find their relevance in today’s world, and explore these ideas through relevant creative processes. A firm advocate of interdisciplinary work, Travis’ work, both as an artist and as an educator, intentionally crosses disciplinary boundaries in ways that help art majors and minors advance their creative capacities. In addition to his role as an artist and instructor, Travis works closely with museums, arts councils, and community centers to develop relevant opportunities for artists such as residencies, artist collectives, exhibitions, professional development, and mentorship programs.

Assistant Professor Ryan Rasmussen is a multi-disciplinary artist, researcher, and educator whose work spans practices in sculpture, installation, kinetic and electronic works, and video. His teaching covers a broad range of topics including Intermedia, Sculpture, 3D Design, Interactive Art, and Digital Art. Ryan has exhibited work nationally and internationally in such venues as Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar; CICA Museum of South Korea; Kyoto Cultural House, Kyoto, Japan; Art Space in the Bay area of CA; the Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago, IL; the Nancy Fyfe Cardozier Gallery in Midland-Odessa, TX; and Clough Hansen in Memphis, TN. In 2018, Ryan’s work was included in the International Biennial at the Museu do Douro in Portugal. Ryan is an Assistant Professor of Intermedia at Elon University.

Associate Professor Shawn Tucker is a humanities instructor and scholar. His most current work revolves around laughter. Shawn teaches courses about Humanities in the Age of Photography, Aspects of Laughter, and Laughter and the Humanities. In 2022 he published Can Laughter Make the World a Better Place?, a book that combines scholarship about laughter with concrete examples to make great intellectual insights accessible to a wide audience. In addition to his work on laughter, Shawn has published a scholarly book on pride and humility and assembled a sourcebook of documents about the virtues and vices in the arts, including the seven deadly sins. He has also published articles about Dada, The Wasteland, Humanities pedagogy, and popular music.

Excellent Facilities

elon university - group critique - drawing & design studios, April 2018

Group critique – Intro to Drawing and Fundamentals of Design courses, Elon University

The Department of Art is housed in Arts West, which features 24-hour secure access to large, well-equipped studios for ceramics, painting, drawing, intermedia/digital art, and photography. The department stays current with the latest equipment and technology, ensuring that students are well-prepared to enter the workforce. Multiple exhibition spaces provide exposure for student work, including Gallery 406, which also regularly rotates exhibitions of contemporary artists.

Click HERE to visit our Facilities webpage to view photos of our studios

Beyond the Classroom

Students in Time Arts on a fieldtrip to Elsewhere Artist Collaborative.

Individual mentorship is at the core of the Studio Art program. Guided by their teachers/mentors, students work toward producing a body of work and/or high-level scholarship in their senior year. These relationships also yield many personal and professional growth opportunities beyond the classroom. Some of these include: study abroad opportunities; field trips to regional galleries and art centers; annual visits to some of the world’s finest museums in Washington, D.C.; experience with installing exhibitions in Gallery 406; receiving critiques from visiting artists; and attending visiting artist lectures. Students at Elon have also completed internships with such institutions as 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, to name a few. Other internships have provided experience 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 the Art Guild, a student-run organization that sponsors field trips to galleries and museums, student exhibitions and workshops. Creative Resolution is an organization for students interested in graphic design that provides design opportunities, workshops and student exhibitions on and off campus

Art students are encouraged to conduct rigorous undergraduate research and present their work at Elon’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).  Art students also participate in many CELEBRATE events on campus each year.

Fellows Program

Exceptional high school students planning to major in Art may qualify for the Elon College Fellows or Honors Fellows programs. These programs offer scholarship support, study abroad grants, interdisciplinary seminars, and more. Additionally, majors and minors are invited to apply yearly for Art Department annual scholarships, which may go towards tuition or art supplies. Visit the Elon Fellows programs Website for more information.

Opportunities after Graduation

Studio Art graduates pursue a variety of career paths, including fine arts, advertising, graphic design, art therapy, fashion, illustration, and gallery/curatorial work. Many Elon art alumni have chosen to attend graduate school at institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, Pratt Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, NYU, Parson’s School of Art and Design, Drexel University, Tufts, and the School of Visual Arts.