About the Department

Studying Art and Art History at W&L

The Department of Art and Art History at Washington and Lee University, located in Wilson Hall, offers courses in studio art and the history of art. Its program of study includes majors and minors in each of these areas, as well as a minor in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. A recent surge of student interest has propelled the department into a place among the ten most heavily subscribed academic units in the College.

In the Department of Art and Art History, we are committed to the inclusive and productive learning of every student who studies and creates with us. As faculty and staff, we recognize and value the diverse backgrounds of our students and we embrace the differences in our educational community. We are passionate to bring the demands of social and environmental justice to bear in our curriculum and our department as a whole. We are invested in producing learning environments that equitably engage and support a complex diversity of students, and we seek to attract their divergent interests to our department.

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Wilson Hall Facilities

Studio facilities include two sculpture workrooms, a state-of-the-art computer lab, two darkrooms, and five studio classrooms. Majors take courses in photography (both digital and traditional darkroom), sculpture, painting, drawing, print-making, and design. Senior majors share a large studio space in which they work independently on their own projects.

Art history classes are intimatewith caps on lecture courses set at 25and plentiful, with all courses taught in Wilson Hall. Students have access to computer resources in the building, use a digital library containing millions of images, and work closely with faculty and peers in and out of the classroom.

Areas of Study

Our art history faculty offer courses that encourge students to explore artistic and cultural production across diverse regions and time periods. In our Wilson Hall classrooms, students can study:

  • South Asian Art including Tibet and the Himalayas
  • East Asian Art and Architecture
  • Mesoamerican and Andean Art
  • Northern and Southern European Medieval Art
  • Northern European Gothic Art
  • Early and High Italian Renaissance Art
  • Colonial Latin American Art
  • Early Modern European Art (Italian, Spanish, Dutch)
  • Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art
  • Modern and Contemporary American Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Western European Art
  • Contemporary U.S. Latinx Art
  • Study abroad opportunities in Spain and France

Our studio art faculty teach a broad range of courses and media at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. All classes are small and provide students with opportunities for hands-on experiential learning. In the Wilson Hall studios, students can study:

  • Drawing
  • Design
  • Darkroom and digitally-based photography (color, black and white, and large format)
  • Alternative and 19th-century photographic processes
  • Printmaking
  • Painting
  • Sculpture and 3D Design
  • Environmental Art
  • Mixed media
  • Study abroad opportunities in France, Italy, and Ireland

The Staniar Gallery

The Department of Art and Art History supports and works in tandem with the Staniar Gallery. Located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, the Gallery stages a variety of public exhibitions and hosts a lecture series for visiting artists. The Gallery's schedule and slate of events changes annually, as it brings to campus an array of important and challenging images and image-makers who interact with students, faculty, and the greater Lexington community during their stay at W&L.

Art and Art History Faculty

The department is comprised of eight full-time, tenured, or tenure-track faculty, each of whom is either a practicing artist or an engaged scholar. A Gallery Director, studio technician, administrative assistant, and adjunct/affiliated faculty round out a dedicated staff who make the Art and Art History Department an exceptionally vibrant hub of activity on campus.