As an Art major at St. Edward’s University, you’ll learn to shift your perspective and push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone.
You’ll develop a core knowledge of design, drawing and art history and explore mediums including drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture.
And the lessons you learn will extend far beyond the subjects you explore. In the Drawing Methods course, for example, you’ll stretch your mind and gain confidence in your artistic abilities by completing perspective-shifting projects — 20 themed drawings in 20 hours; drawing the same object 10 times, filling the whole sheet each time and turning the paper 90 degrees every four minutes — that challenge you to refine your artistic process. And as you work through the projects, you’ll start to trust the process and embrace mistakes, an approach that extends far beyond the art world.
As you advance through the program, you’ll discover your own style and learn to critique your own work. You’ll create interactive installations, ask questions of professional artists who visit campus and study at museums across Texas. The Fine Arts Gallery on campus will become your lab, where you’ll learn exhibition design and installation and have an opportunity to show your own work.
And in Austin — a creative city with a vibrant art scene — you’ll apply what you’re learning. Intern at established galleries, The Contemporary art museum, and the city’s Cultural Arts department, including the airport public art program. And in your spare time, take advantage of the Blanton Museum, dozens of established galleries, the interdisciplinary Fusebox Festival, and the two jam-packed weekends of the East Austin Studio Tour, plus more street murals than you can Instagram in a year.
Explore your options — classes, internships, research, and study abroad. Use the Art Major Guide to find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jump starts your future.
What do our graduates do?
Art majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.
- Exhibitor at Austin’s Wally Workman Gallery
- Project lead at MoonArk, the first museum for the moon, in Paris
- Associate professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn.
- MFA student at Columbia University
- Recipient of the University Graduate Scholarship at the University of Saskatchewan for MFA studies
How to Draw Your Future
An innovative art class teaches students about making marks on paper and their mark in the world.
The Classroom and Beyond
Through applied learning in your courses, internships in the art world, interaction with visiting artists, and exhibitions in the Fine Arts Gallery on campus, you’ll learn about the landscape of arts careers and find your niche.
In Installation and Public Art, you’ll learn by participating in the full process of being a public artist. Work with stakeholders and create a real-world public art project on or off campus. A previous class created work for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.
In Art and Activism, you’ll learn about art making as a means of social action and activism. You’ll study artists working in social practice, political art, and other art activism projects, and then engage with stakeholders, such as a nonprofit, on a real project.
In your Senior Studio courses, you’ll develop an independent creative project and install your work in the Fine Arts Gallery on campus.
In Professional Practices course, you’ll interact with working artists in the Austin community and learn about career options, document your creative work, create a personal website and expand your professional network.
Throughout the year, you’ll learn from visiting artists who share their artistic vision and experiences in the field. Past visiting artists include:
- African American artist Letitia Huckaby
- Turkish American artist Tulu Bayar
- David Mack, artist and writer for Marvel Comics®
- Artist-activists Robert Shetterly and Lily Yeh
- Social practice artist Pato Hebert
Research and Creative Opportunities
The studio art faculty at St. Edward’s are well-known artists whose work has been exhibited widely at galleries and museums. You might assist one of your professors, or a professional artist in their network, in their studios or with the installation of exhibitions. In your free time, you’ll have the vast Austin art scene to explore: visiting local galleries and museums, attending artist lectures and workshops, even exhibiting at local galleries.
Chroma Art Club is a space for learning artists who want to grow in their practice and network with other artists. Members make and collaborate on creative works, visit galleries and discuss their own and others’ work. Recently the club has attended an exhibition opening, held a “Paint with Bob Ross” event, made hand-illustrated postcards, hosted life drawing and charcoal drawing sessions, and collaborated with the St. Edward’s New Literati literary magazine to create artwork inspired by poetry.
Command G design club arranges workshops and roundtables and provides opportunities to explore careers in the field through studio visits. The club has held several screen printing workshops and an all-mediums critique night.
Major Requirements: The Bachelor of Arts with a major in Art requires 58 hours of core coursework. The Art program offers students a strong foundation year which encourages skill development, experimentation and independent thought. In the sophomore year students focus on media exploration and skill development through courses in painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Art history courses support both contextual and conceptual development that is essential for emerging artists. Upper level courses include Figuration (the study of the human figure), Professional Practices, and Art and Inquiry (an arts-based research course). Students conclude their studies through the culminating experience course sequence, Senior Studio I and II, which require the development of an independent creative project, a senior exhibition in the Fine Arts Gallery, and a thesis paper.
Electives: Art majors typically take between 6 and 12 hours of elective courses. Example elective courses include Sequential Art, Screenprinting, Installation Art, and Video.
General Education Requirements: The Art degree requires an average of 38-44 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for the Art major (PDF).
A few examples of the Art major courses students take:
- Issues in Contemporary Art – Focuses on recent art, artists and art world (from museums to the market). Materials will be framed in the context of the era, including introductions to formalist, feminist, psychological, and deconstructivist criticism.
- Painting: Methods – Focuses on fundamental painting techniques from direct observation. Emphasis is placed on the plastic medium of paint as it relates to pictorial representation, color, form, texture, and space.
- Clay: Handbuilding – Introduces handbuilding techniques involved in the ceramics process. Through demonstrations and discussions, students will learn fundamental handbuilding methods, surface treatments, and the use of tools and equipment. Students complete projects employing coil, pinch, slab, and additive/subtractive modeling techniques.
Expand your career options by interning with local artists and art organizations. Art majors recently have interned with the following:
- San Antonio contemporary art gallery Artpace
- The studio of internationally acclaimed, Austin-based artist Deborah Roberts
- MOHA (Museum of Human Achievement), a multidisciplinary art space in Austin
- The Contemporary Austin
- City of Austin public art department
- Women & Their Work gallery in East Austin
You also can volunteer with art organizations to learn even more about the field.
Our distinguished faculty members are scholar-practitioners with years of experience and creative passions of their own. They stay active in their fields and bring their expertise to the classroom.
Beyond providing young people with technical know-how, I hope to open their minds to new ideas and successful approaches to problem solving, brainstorming techniques and experimenting without reservation.
— Hollis Hammonds,
Chair of Visual Studies & Associate Professor of Art
I teach my students by providing context to the world of art — from the availability of materials to market strategies, from the voice of the individual to the goals of society. I encourage young people to study with these much larger issues in mind. However, I also believe that the study of art must come back to the object itself.
— Mary K. Brantl,
PhD, Associate Professor of Art History
I encourage them to seek opportunities that challenge them artistically, both in and outside of the classroom. This reinforcement of their talent makes a precious connection between theory and practice.
— Alexandra Robinson,
Associate Professor of Art, Director of Fine Arts Gallery
My goal is that each student leaves my class with increased understanding of how to express their ideas clearly in three-dimensional forms, using technical skills, cogent thought processes, and an awareness of context.
— Tammie Rubin,
Assistant Professor of Art, Sculpture and Ceramics
Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage of these resources that help them thrive and excel: Learn more about these services.
Students who wish to earn an Art minor must take the following coursework, totaling 24 hours, with at least 9 hours of upper-division coursework. This includes four required courses:
- Foundations of Art and Design
- Drawing I
- Clay: Handbuilding
- Art History I or Art History II
Students select three elective courses in Art History I, Art History II, Drawing II or Watercolor I, Sculpture: Materials, or Clay: Wheel Throwing.
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.
SEU To You
Professor of Art Hollis Hammonds focuses on teaching both in-class and virtual students in her studio art classes.