Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts | Spalding University Catalog

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts


The Spalding Studio Arts program offers a dynamic curriculum in visual arts with a professional and community focus. Immersion in the techniques of both traditional and cutting-edge media, and the encouragement of exploration, collaboration, and critical thinking skills transform students into creative problem solvers prepared to engage with and contribute to the world.

The BFA in Studio Arts program hosts a suite of makerspaces aimed at providing students and faculty a place to explore and create combining cutting edge technology with traditional tools and processes. These spaces feature: a newly retooled wood and metal shop with additional tools for bike maintenance and leather-working; a repository called the free source that offers reclaimed materials to lower student costs, a clean space with 3D printing, a laser cutter, sewing and embroidery machines; and a making room referred to as the slop shop for messy experiments in plaster, paint and mache. These facilities are open to students, faculty and staff across disciplines and collaboration is encouraged.

The BFA in Studio Arts curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the times, to bridge the gap between creative and professional development, and to prepare students to use creative skills to engage in the community and to make a difference in the world.

Program Overview

The Studio Arts program, housed within the School of Liberal Arts, offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in two concentrations of study: General Studio Art, Graphic Design & Illustration. Students in the program will be required to take 120 credits total: 71 credits in Studio Art and Art History, and 49 credits in University Studies courses.

All students begin their chosen concentration with a rigorous 12-credit Foundation Program and 9 credits in Western Art History. These courses introduce students to the cultural significance and social impact of our creative practice, the application of the Principles of Design as a form of visual communication, Design Thinking and Creative Problem-Solving techniques for the purpose of idea development, all with a focus on curiosity-based learning.

The University Studies courses enrich students’ artistic and creative trainings with studies in the Humanities and Sciences, giving a broad base for the critical assessment of the artist’s role in society.

The BFA  in Studio Arts degree engages and accommodates students with varying amounts of art experience. Students may declare a major at any time.

Students pursuing the BFA in Studio Arts may choose from two distinct concentrations:
• General Studio Arts
• Graphic Design & Illustration

Each concentration has a series of required courses and a selection of electives to choose offering a broad range of approaches to the discipline. The variety of course offerings within each discipline provides both the breadth and depth for each student to investigate a distinctive approach to visual art and design.

Students in the BFA program can add a Minor in Creative Entrepreneurship offered in conjunction with the School of Business. The ability to be creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial is a vital skill set across many fields. The Creative Entrepreneurship interdisciplinary minor exposes students to entrepreneurial thinking skills that can be applied to designing new creative ventures, adding value to existing creative organizations, and developing opportunities for individual creative professionals.

Additional Program Requirements
All BFA students will be required to take additional required courses at the Junior and Senior level in order to solidify and deepen their personal focus while establishing creative independence. These courses are Professional identity & Internship, Junior Capstone and Senior Capstone.

  • A 3-credit experiential learning opportunity during the Junior or Senior year. Students will be required to take part in an experiential learning experience either in the workplace as an Internship or in an upper level Makerspace collaborative course providing hands-on experience and valuable exposure to a professional art-related field of their choice. In addition to a minimum of 50 contact hours, the internship will require students to keep a regular journal reflecting on their work. Site supervisors will provide evaluations and reviews. A full-time faculty member will be assigned as Intern Supervisor and will be responsible for administering the internship and awarding the grade. The Makerspace course experience is an opportunity for students to have a hands-on experience addressing real community needs with tools and techniques that will be used in the fields they pursue after graduation. From printing and production necessary medical aids to assist in relief efforts or even in the individual experience of helping a young child find a way to play, the Makerspace is a place where the Spalding Creative Arts students can participate in the kind of making that enriches their community and environment. 
  • Junior Capstone a two-credit course taken during the Junior year, encourages the development of personal process and direction as an artist through a combination of written and studio work. Regular class meetings and studio visits will engage students in writing exercises that will help them explore, understand, and explain their ideas and work while independently discovering their artistic/creative focus. This course prepares students for the independent exploration of ideas and materials, and the work ethic that it is required for Senior Capstone.
  • Senior Capstone, an intensive three-credit course taken during the Senior Year. Senior Capstone will help students to develop an independent studio practice that culminate in a Senior Exhibition or professional creative project. All senior capstone students will participate in a comprehensive oral defense in front of a panel of faculty. Students will work closely with two faculty members, and other art faculty mentors who will manage the oral defense and administer the grade. The panel critique will constitute 50% of the grade. The Senior Capstone will challenge students to exercise their work ethic, develop and resolve concepts to completion, exhibit/implement projects, and ultimately prepare them to work as professional artists and creative entrepreneurs.

Program Sheets
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art: Graphic Design & Illustration Track