Why Study Art, Art History or Visual & Media Studies?

Visual competence and media literacy is central to critical thinking in the twenty-first century. The historical study of art, architecture, and visual culture provides the understanding and the language necessary for analyzing images, objects, and buildings and for recognizing and theorizing their social impact. The making of art develops the ability to think critically and visually, to resolve spatial problems, and to apply concepts to the creation of images, objects, multimedia installations, actions, and a variety of new socially interactive relations in culture. Visual studies enables understanding of the role of images in everything from the fine arts and the psychology of perception to popular culture and the media (advertising, television, photography, film, video, the Internet, and computer imagining), as well as in all professional and social contexts from the courtroom and hospital to the lecture hall and street.

Art history has always been interdisciplinary, through involvement in the culture, languages, politics, and economics of the period in which a work was produced, as well as in its literature, philosophy, religion, and relation to, if not foundation in, science and mathematics. Art history offers opportunity for you to develop your ability to formulate ideas orally and in writing through the study of theory and criticism, as well as to learn how to refine their powers of observation. Art historical and visual training prepares students for a variety of careers in many different professions within and beyond art.

A passion for the visual artifact resides at the core of successful work in the history or practice of art, and both art historical and studio training provide practical experience in the development and creative resolution of new ideas and their visual expression. In addition to the pleasure of an increased awareness of the visual environment, these disciplines offer compelling ways to think about and debate new perspectives on the past and present.