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Visual & Performing Arts

The Visual & Performing Arts Majors


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Art and Art History  |  Graphic Design  |  Theatre


Art and Art History

The major in art and art history provides students with a broad-based education in the arts. The major includes general history courses in art, i.e., painting, sculpture, architecture and related media, as well as courses in music, film, photography and theatre, plus studio experience.

After completing required courses in Methodology and Art Literature, students can select a more specific program of study focused on one era or period in art history, e.g., the Renaissance, Baroque/Classic, Romantic, 19th and early 20th centuries or Modern.

To gain a more comprehensive and informed view of their chosen period, students will complete a combination of courses in art, music, film, photography, theatre and literature appropriate to their selected period. Students are also required to take two semesters of a foreign language (preferably one suitable to their chosen period of study) and attend cultural events on a regular basis.

The Senior Seminar with Thesis capstone course provides students with the opportunity to combine the various strands of their coursework in the arts. Upon completion of their degree, students will be expected to:

  • Identify and distinguish among cultural, regional and personal artistic styles.
  • Recognize the relationships that exist between works of art and their historical and cultural contexts.
  • Analyze and discuss orally and in writing — with precision and clarity — qualities of a given work of art or architecture.
  • Critically analyze and discuss artwork, scholarly essays and articles significant to the field.
  • Employ research tools and mechanics appropriate to the writing of research papers required by the discipline of art and art history.

> View art and art history requirements

Graphic Design

The graphic design major offers students a rich blend of art and design history, together with diverse opportunities to develop their artistic and creative expression in both design and the studio arts. Students receive a strong foundation in design thinking, theory, process and practice, along with a background in the liberal arts.

The program challenges students to learn through research, critical questioning, problem analysis and the methodologies of the design industry. Students also develop an understanding and working knowledge of current industry-standard technical skills.

The graphic design curriculum helps students build their knowledge, year by year, through courses of increasing complexity, as well as internships and opportunities for real-world design practice. Upon completion of their degree, students will be expected to:

  • Understand and perform various types of research (infusing their senior capstone research project with focused knowledge).
  • Write for varied applications.
  • Understand and use successful collaborative skills, both online and in person.
  • Be self-motivated and manage creative projects.
  • Employ a variety of creative processes in developing ideas for critical analysis via critique.
  • Feel comfortable making oral presentations to students, professors and outside clients.
  • Understand how to brand and market themselves and their work.
  • Feel confident in their knowledge of all industry software, hardware and social media.
  • Be accountable, responsible and ethical in their work.

> View graphic design requirements

Theatre

Based on a liberal arts foundation, the theatre arts major provides students with a variety of core courses in the theatrical arts, including history and criticism, literature, performance, directing, design, management and technical production. Students gain a well-rounded and broad understanding of the field of theatre studies. 

The theatre arts major prepares students for graduate school or professional careers in theatre-related professions and provides them with practical experience in managing an arts organization.

In its diverse academic and production offerings, the theatre arts major encourages students to strive for high degrees of excellence and professionalism. It also provides students with group-oriented problem-solving opportunities that encourage research, collaboration and cooperation, while also encouraging self-exploration, self-discipline and creative expression.

The theatre arts major prepares and encourages students to embrace theatrical art as an effective and necessary form of human inquiry, exploration and critique. It also promotes greater awareness of and appreciation for the role, function and value of theatre in society. Upon completion of the theatre arts major, students will be expected to:

  • Integrate knowledge of the origins and development of theatre and drama into a historically informed understanding of critical and creative work.
  • Demonstrate the ability to analyze plays perceptively and evaluate scripts and theatre productions critically.
  • Apply research skills (under faculty direction) to conceive and/or execute a final project in acting, directing, criticism, playwriting or design.
  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in the collaborative communication and processes necessary for the production of theatre.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with postgraduate training and/or work opportunities and apply the learning from the specific areas of acting, directing, design and production to projects within and beyond the discipline.

> View theatre arts requirements

Contact Info

Laura Moore Pruett, Chair
Visual and Performing Arts 
Associate Professor, Music
pruettl@merrimack.edu