Art and Art History

Art History Major Art History Minor

Studio Art Major Studio Art Minor

Art and Art History Department Website

Why Study Art and Art History at K?

Studying art empowers you to intertwine your personal and academic interests with artistic expression and research across visual cultures. 

Studio art class painting

As a studio art or art history student, you will develop critical thinking, analysis, communication, and creative skills that will empower you to navigate and respond to our ever-increasingly visual world. The department courses are split between the two degree programs: studio art and art history. 

Studio art courses explore contemporary issues in the visual arts while developing practical and professional skills for your future career, with beginning to advanced classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, printmaking, digital art, documentary video, and combined media. In these courses, you will explore creative visual modes of expression and learn about the traditional and innovative practices of each art form. 

The art history program is designed for you to gain critical looking, thinking, and analysis skills so that you can meaningfully navigate and respond to art at a local and global level. In classes like Public Art and Its Publics; “Primitivism” to Surrealism; Art and Gender; and Contemporary African Art—to name a few—you will gain historical and theoretical knowledge about various art forms and visual cultures throughout history. You will also learn how to be a critical consumer of art by developing analytical methodologies that go beyond, and often challenge, the dominant narratives surrounding artwork. 

Regardless of your path, your courses will be supplemented with experiential learning opportunities, such as visiting museums and galleries, working with local and visiting artists and art historians, and attending external lectures. 

The visual literacy, writing, creativity, critical thinking and communication skills you will develop as an art student at K will prepare you for a variety of careers in industry, education, and non-profit work, as well as for any future graduate studies you choose to pursue.

What can you do with an Art and Art History major?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our art alumni.


  • Artist
  • Art Therapist
  • Curator
  • Marketer
  • Designer


  • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
  • ArtistYear
  • Lionsgate
  • Toledo Museum of Art
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Graduate Schools

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Iowa
  • Claremont Graduate University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Michigan

Program Spotlights

The College's studio in the Park Trade Center

Join the vibrant art scene in Kalamazoo 

Our faculty take advantage of the College’s location and active art community, often bringing local artists into the classroom to share their knowledge and experience and partner with institutions in Kalamazoo, like the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, to bring your learning off-campus. Seniors will even get the chance to use the College’s Park Trade Center studio in downtown Kalamazoo to work alongside fellow artists as they create their own exhibition or installation, which will be displayed at the city’s monthly Art Hop open house.

Study away in New York City

While you can choose from any of the College’s 50+ study abroad and study away programs and transfer any relevant courses, many of our students choose to take advantage of our New York Arts Program in NYC. During your term in NYC, you will integrate yourself into the local art community as you study, work on your own pieces, and intern with a professional artist. This is an excellent opportunity for you to network with professional artists, gain hands-on work experience in the industry, and further hone your craft.

Maeve Henning's ceramics project

Showcase your knowledge and talent in your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)

As a part of your studies at K, you will complete a Senior Integrated Project (SIP), a capstone experience where you showcase all you have learned. For our art and art history majors, SIPs tend to be either the creation of your own body of artwork, in-depth research that expands on your previous studies, or an internship—typically at a museum or gallery—paired with reflection and research. For example, Maeve Henning ’21 reflected on visual and interpersonal aspects of food, from growing to cooking to decomposition, in her ceramics SIP, “Food Stories.” 

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Cam Zdziarski-West

Cam Zdziarski-West (She/They)

Majors: Studio Art and Art History

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The best part about the arts department is being able to create and investigate new mediums with insight from amazing artist professors.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

One of my favorite classes at K was Ceramics with Sarah Lindley. I love being in the studio and being able to bounce creative ideas off other classmates, as well as receive constructive feedback.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

While participating in the NYAP [New York City Study Away Program], I had two internships. One internship was with Borinquen Gallo, a multi-media artist, whom I aided in her upcoming projects (research, creating, contacting fabricators, etc.). My second internship was at Wave Hill, a non-profit public garden and cultural center. There I helped with art open houses, archival organization, inventory, taking photos, etc. I’m part of SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine] as well and participate in a student-organized mutual aid group for the school where we set up a food pantry biweekly, crowdfund, and organize ways to support students.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I plan to do my SIP in ceramics and will likely create sets of functional pieces.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

After K, I hope to be involved in some sort of community non-profit art organization, working with other artists; I also would enjoy learning what it’s like to work in an art institution (such as a museum or gallery).

Art and Art History Department News