Art and Art History

Create and study works of art.

We believe in the the power of art to ignite curiosity and wonder.

Our dynamic and Art and Art History Department is a vibrant community of artists and scholars dedicated to exploring the multiple pasts and presents, of artistic expression. Inhabiting the intersection of liberal arts, the diverse cultural and artistic traditions of our metropolitan location, and the lands and waters of the Midwestern landscape, we foster interdisciplinary exploration, critical thinking, and hands-on making. Through collaborative teaching and learning, we engage with visual culture to interpret and contribute to the evolution of our multicultural, global society. Guided by a belief in the transformative power of art, we aim to spark enthusiasm and inquiry while serving and connecting with students, staff, faculty, and the broader community.

Why study art and art history at Macalester?

All of our students learn through both observation and hands-on practice. For example, in a sculpture course, you may learn about the history of cast bronze and work with your classmates to create your own sculptures in our bronze foundry. In art history courses, such as Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in American Art, you’ll examine visual culture through the intersectional contexts in which it is created, honing your skills for written analysis.

Our faculty and staff are working artists and scholars, contributing actively to the local, national, and international arts communities. Your Macalester degree in Studio Art or Art History will prepare you for graduate study in art or art history, and it will form the basis for a professional career in the arts. For non-majors, you will gain a foundation for a lifetime appreciation of the arts in their varied contexts. Each spring, art history majors present public lectures of their original capstone research projects while the studio art capstones consist 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 more than 120 small art galleries throughout the Twin Cities metro area.

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.