A Guide to the Study of Art

Only Sightings, Never Landings
Claudia Dragonette
1996
Color Photograph
Hartwick College Student Collection

Why be an art major?

Some students have known for years that they will be artists, and others do not realize their potential in studying art until they experiment with an art course in college. Some students study art purely because they want to learn about art by practicing it. An art major will help you to develop your creative potential. It may mean that you have a specific talent in painting, ceramics, or some other art medium, or it may mean that you have a creative vision that can be used to enhance your other talents in fields as diverse as biology, computers or writing. Many kinds of talents can be combined to advantage by today's visual artist.

How do I become an art major?

Read the college catalogue and this handbook and then consult with one of the instructors in the studio area: Professors Kreisher, Slade, Barlow, Rozene or Von Stengel. They will help you fill out the correct forms, direct you to the courses that you need, and help you assess the courses that you want. Before declaring the major, you must request a portfolio review with a member of the art faculty. It is important to declare the major in art early in your career at Hartwick, and you should be especially aware that the foundations courses and Sophomore Review must be completed in the first two years. In order to graduate in four years, you should declare the art major no later than spring of your sophomore year. If you declare your interest earlier, you can plan your education so that the courses required for Liberal Arts in Practice (LAiP) help you in your career plans. It is a sound idea NOT to try to cram all the LAiP requirements into your first semesters here at Hartwick. Often these requirements can be dovetailed into the art major once a student has declared her or his major. Many art and art history courses also meet LAiP designations.

What required courses do I need to take?

There are seven core courses which must be taken within the first two years at Hartwick. Five studio courses are required: Art 113: Drawing I, Art 115: 2-Dimensional Design, Art 116: Digital is Fundamental, Art 165: 3-Dimensional Design, Art 212: Drawing/The Figure or Art 217: Drawing/Works on Paper. Studio students must also complete a three-course sequence in a chosen area of concentration. Because students of studio art are expected to be conversant with major trends in the history of art, studio majors take a total of five art history courses: three required World Art History courses (102, 103 and 104, also referred to as the surveys), and two upper-level courses of the student's choice .

What if I am a transfer student?

You should plan to submit a transcript of your grades and a portfolio to the department within three weeks of your transfer to Hartwick College. The department will review your credentials, determine your status, and then assist you in choosing an appropriate advisor and course of study.

What about Directed Studies and Internships?

In keeping with college regulations, Directed and Independent Studies must be approved prior to the term in which they are taken. Signatures are needed from your academic advisor, faculty study supervisor, and chair of the Department of Art and Art History. Forms may be picked up in the Registrar's Office. Directed and Independent Studies are usually not available for first and second year students.

Sophomore Review

During the fall of the sophomore year, declared art majors participate in the sophomore review; this helps them to assess their individual progress, strengths and weaknesses, and goals within the major. More information about Sophomore Review.

Junior Review

In the spring of your junior year, you will participate in the Junior Review exhibition in Foreman Gallery in Anderson Center. This review allows both junior studio majors and faculty to take stock of a student's progress toward the major. Strengths and weaknesses are discussed, and students use the information to put together a strong and unique show in the spring of the senior year. Information sheets concerning the Junior Review are sent out in the fall semester of the junior year prior to the spring review. A student must pass the Junior Review in order to be eligible to begin the senior project in art, which culminates in the Senior Projects exhibition. More information about Junior Review

Senior Projects

Exhibition in the Foreman Gallery: Students at Hartwick College are expected to do a senior thesis or project. Art majors complete a senior project. All senior art majors participate in the Senior Exhibition, usually scheduled in May. You will register for Art 490 in the fall semester of your senior year and work closely with your project advisor(s) on your senior project. The public showing of the artwork is accompanied by a written statement and an oral defense with the project advisor(s) and all studio faculty as well as participating senior art majors. The proposal for the senior project is submitted during the fall semester of the senior year and must be approved by the department before the student can begin the project. More information see Senior Projects in Art.

Only Sightings, Never Landings
Claudia Dragonette
1996
Color Photograph
Hartwick College Student Collection

Student Collection

The Department of Art and Art History maintains a collection of works by students. This collection is a record of the work of a rich variety of student artists who have attended Hartwick College. Each year some works may be selected from the senior projects show to be added to the art department student collection; students whose works are selected are generally offered a small honorarium. Works from the collection may be borrowed for display in secure spaces throughout the campus. Many examples from this collection can be found in the library or in administrators' offices.

What areas of concentration are available to me at Hartwick?

  • Ceramics

Students electing to study ceramics at Hartwick College are offered a full range of experience with clay, from functional forms to sculpture. In Ceramics I, students explore the plastic characteristics of clay through experiments in hand building, throwing and other means of fabrication. Participants also learn how to operate kilns as well as use and care for other studio equipment. In Ceramics II and III you will learn more advanced construction methods, along with glaze chemistry and calculation. Projects may encompass functional, nonfunctional and sculptural uses of clay. You will also do further work with kilns and kiln firing as you begin to explore your own creative paths.

  • Digital Art and Design

Digital Art and Design introduces the student to processes of contemporary art-making and design through the use of computers and new media art technologies. By taking Digital Art and Design I, II, III, and IV students explore the many forms, functions and creative possibilities found in digital media, such as digital video, digital imaging, 2-D animation, and web design. These classes prepare students for careers in web design, digital video, and animation. Digital Art and Design can also provide a solid basis for students who wish to continue their education at the graduate level.

  • Glass Blowing

At Hartwick College, students may also work in hot glass by taking a directed study in glassblowing. This area of exploration allows you to meet in small groups with the resident artist in glass in order to learn the techniques and concepts of glassblowing. In addition to the group meetings each week, you will work with a partner during assigned blowing times to allow you to explore the medium more fully.

  • Painting

Painting and drawing encompass a wide variety of media and ideas at Hartwick. In Painting I, you will learn about oil painting techniques as well as the fundamentals of composition, cohesiveness and color manipulation. You will work directly from still life, the figure, landscapes, and conceptual ideas as you explore thematic and abstract concepts. There is also a separate course in water media painting that will allow you to concentrate on developing and expanding your ideas in watercolor, acrylics and gouache. In Painting II and III the emphasis shifts more to the development of your own personal style and vision as you continue to learn and experiment with a variety of painting techniques.

  • Photography

Photography is a rapidly expanding field, and careers span a wide range of possibilities. These careers vary from the very technical to fine art choices. Beginning course work in the use of the camera, darkroom, lighting, and film are essential to all photographic careers and are taught in the Photo I and Photo II courses at Hartwick. Computer skills are also fast becoming important to photographers and are incorporated into some of our photo courses. The chances for personal expression are as wide as the interests of the individual behind the camera. If you choose a photo concentration at Hartwick, you will be using the medium primarily as an expressive art form. You will present your work in an exhibition space, and you will be encouraged to experiment with photo-printmaking, computer imaging and artist's books. An internship in a photo area is a fine way to further develop your skills and to help you assess your aptitude for and love of the field. Further study may be required for specialized careers in photography such as: advertising photographer, industrial photographer, architectural photographer, fashion photographer, theatrical photographer, portrait photographer, ecological (conservation) photographer, news photographer, sports photographer, and photo journalist. Non-majors with a special interest in photography may select the Documentary Photography minor. For example, a student majoring in Biology who plans to write articles for conservation magazines could illustrate the articles with his or her own photographs. The Documentary Photography minor also works well with the English major or an art history major.

  • Printmaking

At Hartwick, printmaking is taught as an experimental fine art medium through which students produce multiples of their original images. The year is divided by technique. In the fall you can learn a variety of intaglio and relief methods and, in the spring, silkscreen and lithography. Printmaking I and III are offered in the fall semester, while Printmaking II and III are spring course offerings. Letterpress is available in any term as a directed study, and January is reserved for Round House Press projects, which often emphasize the monoprint medium. For the Round House Press projects, a professional artist is invited to the campus to work and produce a print or set of prints. Round House Press visiting artists are selected for the diversity and breadth of vision that they bring to Hartwick College. Skills learned by an art student concentrating in printmaking can be applied professionally by printing editions for other artists. At Hartwick, students can polish these skills by collaborating with the professional artists working on campus for the Round House Press.

  • Ceramics

Students electing to study ceramics at Hartwick College are offered a full range of experience with clay, from functional forms to sculpture. In Ceramics I, students explore the plastic characteristics of clay through experiments in hand building, throwing and other means of fabrication. Participants also learn how to operate kilns as well as use and care for other studio equipment. In Ceramics II and III you will learn more advanced construction methods, along with glaze chemistry and calculation. Projects may encompass functional, nonfunctional and sculptural uses of clay. You will also do further work with kilns and kiln firing as you begin to explore your own creative paths.

  • Glass

At Hartwick College, students may also work in hot glass by taking a directed study in glassblowing. This area of exploration allows you to meet in small groups with the resident artist in glass in order to learn the techniques and concepts of glassblowing. In addition to the group meetings each week, you will work with a partner during assigned blowing times to allow you to explore the medium more fully.

  • Sculpture

Sculpture I will introduce you to the materials, tools, concepts, and language of sculpture. Modeling, carving, mold-making, metal fabrication, and lost wax bronze casting are the techniques explored during the first semester. Students in Sculpture II and III will take these techniques further, as well as learning new sculptural concepts associated with construction, mixed media objects and environmental works. You will be also be encouraged to find your own vision as you progress through the sculpture courses.

  • Painting

Painting and drawing encompass a wide variety of media and ideas at Hartwick. In Painting I, you will learn about oil painting techniques as well as the fundamentals of composition, cohesiveness and color manipulation. You will work directly from still life, the figure, landscapes, and conceptual ideas as you explore thematic and abstract concepts. There is also a separate course in water media painting that will allow you to concentrate on developing and expanding your ideas in watercolor, acrylics and gouache. In Painting II and III the emphasis shifts more to the development of your own personal style and vision as you continue to learn and experiment with a variety of painting techniques.

  • Digital Art and Design

Digital Art and Design introduces the student to processes of contemporary art-making and design through the use of computers and new media art technologies. By taking Digital Art and Design I, II, III, and IV students explore the many forms, functions and creative possibilities found in digital media, such as digital video, digital imaging, 2-D animation, and web design. These classes prepare students for careers in web design, digital video, and animation. Digital Art and Design can also provide a solid basis for students who wish to continue their education at the graduate level.

  • Papermaking and Book Arts

Although papermaking is not a concentration at Hartwick, students can study it as a complement to their chosen area of study. 

Only Sightings, Never Landings
Claudia Dragonette
1996
Color Photograph
Hartwick College Student Collection

What else should I be doing while I am in college?

Students who are serious about a career in the arts should get as much experience as possible outside of the classroom. Here are some suggestions:

Internships: First-hand experience is invaluable in finding out what your interests are, as well as helping you gain valuable on-the-job training. Hartwick College offers an extensive internship program which can be investigated either through the Center for Professional, Service, and Global Engagement, or through knowledgeable faculty members.

Work/study Employment: Students eligible for Work Study should plan to work in areas that overlap with their artistic interests in any studio area or the Foreman Gallery. You can gain many practical skills in these areas during your college years that may help you in your job search later.

Travel: Take every opportunity to travel to galleries and museums in foreign locations in January. Current departmental off campus programs are to Italy, Hungary, London and Paris, although there are numerous offerings in many other departments which span the world including Thailand, South Africa, Madagascar, Hawaii, Spain and South America to mention a few.

The Annual Juried Student Exhibition: Use every opportunity to exhibit your work. The Department of Art and Art History sponsors a juried student show every fall, which is an excellent chance to begin your professional career by showing your most recent work. There are small exhibition spaces on campus as well as exhibition opportunities in the local Oneonta and Cooperstown area.

Out-of-class events: Every semester the Department of Art and Art History sponsors a variety of exhibits in the Foreman Gallery, as well as guest lecturers and films. These enhance and complement work done in classrooms. Declared art and art history majors are expected to attend all events. A Calendar of Events is published twice a year. Guest lecturers and exhibitors have included Richard Artschwager, Nanette Carter, Steve Currie, Fred Escher, Robert Fichter, Denise Green, Maren Hassinger, Nancy Holt, Steve Linn, Martha Madigan, Duane Michals, Kay Miller, Olivia Parker, Sal Romano, Juan Sanchez, Paul Soldner, Kay WalkingStick, John Wood, Donna Dennis, Susan Unterberg, Michael Bramwell, Alvaro Garcia, Suzanne Bocanegra, Niki Berg, John Moore and Yong Soon Min.

Student events: Art and art history majors are especially expected to attend student-related art events; these include the junior and senior exhibitions, the annual student juried show, and the art history senior thesis presentations.

Student Art Club: "Artistocracy" is the Hartwick College art club. The club  sponsors bus trips to New York City, student exhibitions, and various other events. JOIN, PARTICIPATE AND ENJOY all the energy and discussion generated through these various forums.

Visit the Center for Professional, Service, and Global Engagement. Remember that when you start to apply for jobs or graduate school, the student who has been active in all aspects of college life and shown enthusiasm for the major with a variety of experiences will probably be the student who merits the most consideration!

Only Sightings, Never Landings
Claudia Dragonette
1996
Color Photograph
Hartwick College Student Collection

What can I do with an art major after I graduate?

The combination of the art major with the liberal arts education received at Hartwick College will prepare a student for a large variety of jobs after graduation. The Center for Professional, Service, and Global Engagement can help you to think about and select career options that appeal to you. There is also a bookcase in the foyer of Anderson Center which is filled with up-to-date graduate catalogues which you can use for getting ideas and for checking to make sure that you are fulfilling the kinds of prerequisites that graduate schools require. You may also use studio faculty members as resources for career and graduate school information. Here are some of the things that you can do:

Independent artist: Although this can be accomplished with little further study, it is highly recommended that a student continue his/her art education at the graduate level.

Art Education--Teaching: Students can receive certification in art education to prepare for a teaching career at the elementary or secondary level, through the Education Department at Hartwick College.

After graduation you can go on to a university graduate program which could lead to an M.A. in art education and permanent certification. Finally, if you wish to teach at the college level, you will have to continue your education in graduate school and acquire an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree.

Art Conservation: This career involves graduate work in an art conservation program like the ones offered at Winterthur in Delaware or at SUNY Buffalo. If this interests you, you should have a strong art history background as well as college level chemistry.

Digital and Graphic Design:  There are opportunities in design, illustration, desktop publishing, computer imaging and multimedia in organizations of every kind and size. Generally, the smaller size company will require more versatility, offering a greater range of experiences, and conversely the larger company will have more focused requirements, demanding more specialized experience. You may work independently as a free-lance artist/designer, developing your own clients and business or work "in house" for an employer who has a regular supply of visual communications projects. The greatest opportunities exist in organizations that are visually oriented, e.g. advertising agencies, television studios, design firms, museums and organizations that have creative departments. Further study may be required to enter the professional field of graphic design.

Art Therapy: This program is available through Hartwick Colleges ISP (Independent Study Program) which can be tailored to the particular needs of the students.

Arts Administration and Gallery Work: This field can be approached in different ways and at different levels. Organizational skills and training in grant writing and budgeting are all important aspects of this field. Management courses could be helpful here.