Birds of Prey Descend on Life Drawing

Teacher Naturalist from The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel brings an owl, vulture and hawk to campus for Randall Exon's Life Drawing class.

2014 pARTy

During our first ever pARTy, our college community roamed three floors of open studios and classrooms while enjoying food trucks, a mariachi band and spoken word performances.

Watch: Teacher-Artist Randall Exon Lets His Imagination Be His Guide

During his 30 years at Swarthmore, Exon has been a mentor to many budding artists. Learn more about him in the Bulletin. More.

Watch: Jia Kim Senior Exhibition

Jia Kim '11, a biology and studio art major from Closter, N.J., has always been fascinated by architecture, especially, she says, by designs that "make your jaw drop" and "make you wonder for days." More

Listen: Teaching Art in an Era of Globalism

Scheuer Family Professor of Humanities Michael Cothren discusses the importance of art history in an era when visual communication is at an all-time high. Michael Cothren: Teaching Art in an Era of Globalism

Watch: My Mud Manifesto

Massey Burke '00 recently returned to campus to supervise the building of a sustainable design project with art and engineering students and other interested members of the campus community. Using materials recycled from the Scott Arboretum, they designed and built a sculptural installation in the garden adjacent to Beardsley Hall. Photo by Elèna Ruyter '14 More

Art is a place where history, religion, psychology, politics and culture converge. The Art Department at Swarthmore offers two avenues of study: studio art and art history. In both, students are introduced to basic skills of visual analysis and expression and to the conceptual frameworks necessary for applying them across disciplines and professions. The study seeks to answer the following questions: Why is having a keen visual intelligence so crucial to a rewarding life? Why are museums one of the first places we go to understand the culture and history of a people? What goes on between the eye, mind and hand during the process of creating a work of art?

The artists and art historians at Swarthmore College consider visual intelligence to be fundamental to a liberal arts education. We believe that the ability to understand works of art -- either through analysis or practice -- is the key to a richer understanding of the human experience.The study of art is the most direct way of developing a better understanding and appreciation of the cultures and societies of our contemporary world, the visual phenomena found in it-both in nature and in society -- and the historical record of human development. Artists have and continue to interpret their experiences and art historians have and continue to interpret the objects made.

Our students learn and create in a department that is made up of a close-knit group of practitioners and historians of art. This unique environment allows the kind of one-on-one relationship to faculty and colleagues that enables our students to gain the skills they need to succeed in their chosen paths. The proximity to Philadelphia and to some of the most important collections of art in the United States, as well as to the lively young artists scene and events such as First Friday, puts Swarthmore in a unique position compared to other liberal arts colleges across the country.