The art department has created programs of major study that are deeply integrated with the overall liberal arts education that is the hallmark of Oberlin. A chief goal of the department is to help students acquire visual literacy, that is, the ability to understand and critically respond to our current visual culture and how it has been influenced by the traditions of visual representation from the past. Students also acquire sophisticated written, technical, and visual abilities that allow them to convey their ideas, their understanding, and their appreciation of art through formal as well as new media.
The department’s access to campus facilities, including the internationally acclaimed Allen Memorial Art Museum, one of the top five museums on any college campus in the country, and the college’s proximity to the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Toledo Museum of Art enrich the art major’s overall academic development and experience.
Students who plan to major in art at Oberlin can choose from one of three areas: art history, visual art, or studio art. Together with the liberal arts instruction at Oberlin, students receive a balanced educational and discipline specific experience. The department has an extensive visiting artists and scholars program that makes possible short- and long-term appointments by internationally acclaimed scholars and visual artists. Off-campus studies are possible in subjects not available at Oberlin.
Our Clarence Ward Art Library supports the curriculum with a collection of more than 100,000 volumes. The department’s faculty includes a balanced number of artists and art historians who are renowned in their field and committed to undergraduate education. Our extensive visiting artists and scholars program makes possible short- and long-term visits by internationally acclaimed scholars and visual artists.
Students interested in advanced study in art consult with their advisors to determine objectives and professional opportunities. Graduates of the our art program have pursued careers in art history, fine arts, museum studies, photography, film, architecture, education, urban studies, and many other fields.