Art and Art History

Create and study works of art.

Serve your community through the practice of art, its presentation, documentation, interpretation, appreciation, and conservation.

The Art and Art History Department offers majors with emphases in art history and studio art. Art making involves examining, transforming, and communicating individual and collective human experiences into visual form.

Art history studies the tangible documentation of culture and provides a window into the history and philosophy of many societies, past and present.

Why study Art and Art History at Macalester

All of our students learn through both observation and hands-on practice. For example, in Sculpture I, you’ll begin the semester by creating a life-size clay portrait head, and end it by working with your classmates to cast bronze sculptures at 2100 degrees in our foundry. In Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in American Art, by examining visual culture through the intersectional contexts in which it is created, you will learn to analyze and write about it.

Many of our faculty members are members of the local and national arts community, as working artists, critics, and curators. Your Macalester art degree will prepare you for graduate study in art or art history and form the foundation for professional practice in the arts. For non-majors, you will gain a foundation for a lifetime appreciation of the arts. Each spring, art history majors present original capstone research projects in a public lecture while the studio art students’ capstone project consists of an exhibition of original artwork in the Law Warschaw Gallery.

Life after Macalester

Art and Art History in the cities

The Twin Cities is home to dozens of galleries and major museums for field trips and research.

Student interns are in demand at nonprofit arts organizations, including the Northern Clay Center, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the Minnesota History Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Walker Art Center.

Explore the hundreds of small art galleries throughout the Twin Cities

Join our community

  • Club Scene: The Art Alliance Club plans special art-related activities for those with a common interest in art, and administers the Drawing Co-op, an informal no-cost opportunity to draw the figure from live models. The Art History Club plans special activities for art history majors, minors and any interested non-majors, meeting several times per semester to visit galleries and museum exhibitions, watch films, and carry on discussions about art. Both clubs are student-run.
  • Law Warschaw Gallery: Our beautiful campus gallery space hosts several exhibitions each year, including student exhibitions, and is open to the community.
  • Lectures & Exhibits: Visiting artists and art and art history alumni make regular visits to campus to lecture, exhibit their work, and connect with students.