Visual Arts and New Media

Office: 217 Rockefeller Arts Center

(716) 673-3537

Dr. Michele Bernatz, Chairperson



The Department of Visual Arts and New Media provides a balanced, comprehensive undergraduate program in the practice, theory, and history of the visual arts and new media. The department offers both majors and elective students an opportunity to experience the arts as an important and enriching facet of a liberal arts education. Whether the goal is a career or advanced study in the arts, or simply a greater understanding of art and its cultural impact, the curriculum offers a dynamic mix of studios, lectures, and seminars. The program provides a comprehensive foundation of design skills as well as historical and conceptual approaches to visual expression. Visual Arts and New Media majors study an interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizing the concepts, theories, design, aesthetics, and skills that inform all visual arts, including those involving electronic mediated expression. Content consists of traditional methods and materials, emerging technologies, and current approaches to artistic production and theory.

The department's graduates possess a unique set of hybrid skills that provide a critical edge for leadership positions in the competitive and evolving marketplace. Graduates have successful careers in corporate and public settings as art directors, working artists and designers, teachers, creative freelancers, and owners of pottery studios, photo studios, and design firms. Others work as photographer's assistants, web designers, gallery directors, exhibition curators, and in the special effects industry for film and entertainment. Many Visual Arts and New Media graduates have also been accepted into some of the country's best graduate schools for advanced study.

The Department of Visual Arts and New Media is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Degree Programs

The department offers Visual Arts and New Media majors multiple opportunities for professional education in studio specialties and art history through various degree options. Students may receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History or in Visual Arts. A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is also available with majors in Animation and Illustration, Ceramics, Drawing and Painting, Graphic DesignFilm and Video Arts, Photography or Sculpture. Students in the department may consider dual majoring between the studio and art history degree programs. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Art History offers a wide variety of courses ranging from ancient times to the 21st century. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Visual Arts and New Media degree is a balanced, comprehensive overview of the range of creative and career possibilities in different media, with the added benefit of incorporating an interdisciplinary pedagogy within a traditional liberal arts curriculum. Both of these degree options, more general than the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), provide an excellent grounding for students interested in dual majors or graduate studies in areas such as secondary education, art therapy, imaging technologies in the visual arts, advertising and marketing, public relations or arts administration.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree emphasizes the range of skills, theories and media necessary for the development of the designer or creative artist. The creative process, from inception to presentation, is emphasized. This degree option fosters intellectual and creative curiosity, critical aesthetic thinking, fusion between different artistic disciplines, and extensive use and evaluation of current technologies. Visual design is of great importance, but equal consideration is given to concept and context. Critical awareness and self-evaluation are encouraged and developed.

Students from other departments may also receive a Visual Arts and New Media minor or an Art History minor to complement their major field of study. Art History majors may also consider a minor in Visual Arts and New Media, and Visual Arts and New Media studio majors may consider a minor in Art History. Students selecting minors should consult with a department advisor in choosing courses or specific area of study.

Admission to the Program

Admission to the department's studio program requires the submission of an acceptable portfolio for both first-year and transfer students. Information specific to portfolio content may be found on the department's website at Transfer students are advised that it may take more than two years at Fredonia to complete degree requirements, depending on their chosen major.

The admissions process is a two-part application. The Office of Admissions will review your academic background. Admission to the college is based upon a review of your academic work, but admission to the department is dependent upon an acceptable portfolio. Portfolios may be submitted at any time; however, acceptance will be based upon quality of work and available space in the program.

Please contact the Department of Visual Arts and New Media with any additional questions or concerns.

Visiting Artist Program (VAP)

All Visual Arts and New Media students are required to participate in the Visiting Artist Program each semester in which they are enrolled as a major on campus. A forum for departmental news and updates, VAP program content includes a range of thought-provoking speakers each semester, providing information about the many directions, options, and possibilities inherent in art and design, as well as opportunities to attend gallery openings throughout the academic year.

24 Credit-Hour Review

The 24 Credit-Hour Review takes place after students have completed, or are in the process of completing, 24 credit hours in Visual Arts and New Media courses (reviews take place in the spring semester). The purposes of the 24 Credit-Hour Review are to evaluate student performance, offer constructive criticism and advice, and help students assess their career goals. The review is a mandatory departmental requirement. Any student failing to participate in the 24 Credit-Hour Review process could be suspended from taking further courses in the Department of Visual Arts and New Media.

Senior Exhibition

All students pursuing the B.A. or B.F.A. in studio art are strongly advised to participate in the Senior Exhibition (ARTS 400), an opportunity to show senior-level work in the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery. Interested students should discuss the requirements of the course with faculty advisors.

Academic Standing and Grade Point Average

All Visual Arts and New Media students must maintain a 2.0 average to remain in good academic standing. Students may repeat courses to improve their grade point average.

Awards and Enrichments

In addition to the academic scholarships available to students through general Admissions and the campus Financial Aid Office, the department of Visual Art and New Media recognizes aptitude and accomplishment by awarding the following competitive scholarships and awards: the Alford Bjurlin Scholarship, the George W. Booth Scholarship, the Marano-Gnirke Scholarship, the Robert W. Marvel Scholarship, the Chautauqua Craft Alliance Scholarship, Fredonia Potters Co-op Awards, the Rodney W. Welling Memorial Scholarship, the Thomas E. Malinowski Scholarship, the Daniel D. Reiff Art History Scholarship, and the Colonel David Correll Photography Scholarship are given to exceptional Visual Arts and New Media majors. Additional scholarships may be available through portfolio competitions on a regional or national level.

The studio and classroom experience is enriched by participation in student clubs such as American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Animation and Illustration Club, Art Forum, Cinema Alternatives, and Life Drawing sessions. Student members of these clubs have visited major art museums and studios in New York, Toronto, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland and have attended photography, sculpture, ceramic, and design conferences and workshops around the country. Internships are available and encouraged for students who want practical experience in addition to coursework in their chosen major. The department assists students in arranging internships either in the U.S. or abroad. The Career Development Office lists internship opportunities. The Office of International Education will assist students with the study abroad application process.