Major Requirements, Curriculum, and Facilities
The Department of Art and Art History offers programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree with two options (studio art and art history), and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
B.A. in Art - Studio Art Option
The B.A. in Art - Studio Art option prepares students for entrance into graduate schools and for a number of vocational opportunities in museum/gallery work and creative endeavor. The Department does not offer any courses in commercial arts (graphic design, advertising, illustration, computer generated art, etc.), but it does provide a strong fine arts background for those wishing to enter the commercial art field.
Through a combination of introductory and specialized courses, the studio art curriculum offers breadth and depth to students who want considerable experience in several studio areas within a liberal arts context. Students choosing this major take both studio (2-D and 3-D) and art history courses and also fulfill the general education, writing intensive, and foreign language requirements of the University and the College of Liberal Arts. While a minimum of 13 courses and 52 credits are needed to fulfill the art major requirements, students are urged to develop a program with depth in one area - painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and wood/furniture design - which may require completion of more than 13 courses.
B.A. in Art - Art History Option
Why study art history? The subject suits people who have an eye for images, just as some have an ear for music or for words--whether or not they have the talent or inclination to make things. Not everyone has this eye. But for those who find beauty in images and for whom they awaken thoughts and carry meanings, art history can become a consuming interest, one that leads in many directions.
Art history is by its very nature an interdisciplinary enterprise, drawing on history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and psychology, among others. Art generates so much money that business and economics have obvious relevance. So do various kinds of scientific knowledge. Infrared reflectography, for example, has shown us much more about what lies beneath the surface of pictures than had been possible with older X-ray technology. Chemistry, too, plays ever-new roles in modern conservation work, while math, especially geometry, has been part of art and architecture since antiquity.
Probably the single most indispensable skill required is an ability to write well. Art historians need to develop the ability to write and to think in essays. "Essay" comes from essayer, meaning "to try." What do I know and how do I know it? This calls for reflection and inner dialogue, as well as the honing of research skills. Art history students learn not only to ask questions of works of art, but to answer some of them in the library and museum. Those research skills are part of what make art historians adaptable to many kinds of jobs.
There are many careers in art history: in various museum departments, in galleries and the art trade, in publishing and libraries, in conservation, in travel and tourism, in college teaching, and, increasingly, in primary and secondary education as well. Art history is also an attractive major to professional schools, not because of any single expertise, but because art historians are so broadly educated, familiar both with the history of creativity and with the harsh lessons of the rise and fall of civilizations.
At the University of New Hampshire, courses are offered in the history of western art from ancient Greece to the present at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels, as well as occasional courses in Islamic and other arts. The prime introductory course (Arts 480 Intro to Art History) introduces a wide range of works of art: diverse in chronology, geographical origin, function, materials and techniques, and in the identities of their makers. The UNH Museum of Art's collection is available for student consultation or research, and Boston museums are within ready reach, as well as the Currier Gallery in Manchester and the Portland Museum of Art, among others. Because art history is taught in conjunction with a studio art program, there are ample opportunities for students to keep in touch with contemporary art. Visiting lecturers include both artists and art historians. The department co-sponsors a year-round program in Ascoli Piceno, northeast of Rome, near the Adriatic Sea. Travel to see monuments and museums is highly recommended whenever possible.
The major in art history includes Arts 480 Intro to Art History as well as six intermediate and/or advanced courses, including one each in the Pre-Renaissance, Renaissance/Baroque, and Modern periods. At least one seminar must be taken, as well as Methods of Art History (Arts 795) and Introductory Drawing (Arts 532). The minor in art history consists of five courses; four must be at the 600-level or above.
The Museum of Art and the department both offer fellowship and scholarship opportunities, as well as work study positions. Undergraduate fellowships are also available through the Hamel Center (http://www.unh.edu/undergrad-research/). Those contemplating graduate work in art history should investigate the Honors-in-Major program and should also study foreign languages.
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
Incoming freshmen applicants wishing to enter the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program must first apply for and be admitted to the B.A. Art - Studio Art option. After taking the introductory studio art courses at UNH, interested students can then seek out two faculty to sponsor their application for the BFA program. Studio majors generally wait until they are well into the intermediate level courses before submitting a portfolio for the BFA review, which is held before a full faculty committee twice a year.
The BFA curriculum provides training for students who plan to enter professional graduate school or to pursue careers as professional artists. The 20 course (84 credits) curriculum is divided into two distinct units: (1) a basic unit of nine courses in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, sophomore seminar, and art history, and (2) an advanced unit of six courses in which students pursue in depth one of several groups of courses (drawing, painting, sculpture, or individualized programs). The individualized programs are designed with permission of the major advisor and the BFA Committee in one or more of the following subject areas: ceramics, photography, printmaking, and wood furniture design. Four or more additional courses are required for completion of the BFA degree: three art electives and the two semester Arts 798 (Seminar/Senior Thesis), which culminates in an exhibition of the student's work in Museum of Art, UNH..
Art Education Program
There is no undergraduate art education major at UNH; however, the University does offer an approved art education program that is organized into a five-year teacher education sequence. This curriculum is designed to prepare teachers of art in the public schools. The satisfactory completion of the B.A. studio art curriculum for art education students (note: which differs slightly from the B.A. studio art curriculum) and required education courses, in conjunction with the fifth-year internship, will satisfy the initial certification requirements for teachers of art in the public schools of New Hampshire and in most other states. Art education students may take accredited crafts courses at other institutions as art electives. Students considering the art education program should consult the UNH Undergraduate Catalog under the heading "Preparing for Teaching."
Studio Art major requirements for art education students (please note that at the time of certification, students are required to complete the most current requirements which may mean completion of additional courses)
2-Dimensional Curriculum and Facilities
The two-dimensional curriculum is the largest in the department, and its breadth and content are shaped by the variety of approaches and expertise of the faculty. The 2-D courses are based on solid basic training and on the encouragement of independent and personal expression. Figuration and still life drawing are the core of the program. After completing Introductory Drawing, students pursue a wide variety of course offerings, choosing from oil painting, water media, photography, printmaking, and advanced drawing. Students work in classroom studios and participate in group critiques and seminars. Towards the end of the four year curriculum, individual works receive increasingly detailed review and critique. Students are taught to methodically evaluate their own and other students work.
North light and clerestory windows for even light distribution throughout the day illuminate the large, open studios. Class size varies, and upper level studio enrollment is usually about 15 students per class. Easels, drawing benches, and models are provided. Student works are exhibited in the corridors of the art wing of the Paul Creative Arts Center.
3-Dimensional Curriculum and Facilities
The three-dimensional curriculum offers concentrations in sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, and furniture design. While each of these programs has a distinct curriculum, together they interrelate to form a comprehensive area. Teaching is highly individualized, enabling students to understand and develop their own styles while learning the aesthetic principles and technical skills involved in class projects. Assignments are based on contemporary issues but always develop from a sound historical perspective. Class size is kept small to provide structured, personal instruction. Full time technical assistants and student fellows who provide further instruction and technical help outside of class assist professors.
The sculpture studio offers a complete bronze foundry, fabrication tools, equipment for work in wood and metal, gas and electric welding, a carving facility for wood and stone, hand and pneumatic tools, and a figure modeling area which provides quality space and light for anatomic modeling.
The ceramics studio offers opportunities for hand building, mold making, and wheel thrown work. Both utilitarian and sculptural aspects are explored. The studios are equipped with kickwheels, gas, electric and raku kilns.
The woodworking and furniture design studio has a well equipped shop in which the broadest range of techniques is pursued. A full complement of hand and power tools is augmented by facilities for clamping and gluing, bending, forming, and finishing wood. The furniture program includes Arts 725 Wood Multiples, which prepares students to enter such events as the biennial National Students Furniture Design Competition. UNH has had several prizewinners in recent years.