Student working on a painting

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art Overview

When you complete your art degree at SMWC, you’ll graduate with a unique combination of problem-solving and visual communication skills. As an art major, you will learn to analyze various forms of visual expression and develop skills in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media.

This learning happens at Hulman Hall, which houses the Department of Art and Design, featuring studios for drawing, painting, ceramics and design, as well as a computer lab. A gallery gives you an opportunity to display your creativity and innovation for all of campus and the Terre Haute community.

Why Major in Art?

Since its founding in 1840, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College prides itself on providing an atmosphere where the arts can flourish. Through individual attention, students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge and talent. This is accomplished through a strong curriculum coupled with participation in the arts. SMWC’s liberal arts base not only encourages exploration, but also provides the means by which to begin.

As traditional art disciplines are integrating digital technologies, SMWC offers a curriculum that not only teaches students the skills necessary in a variety of mediums, but also how to problem-solve and realize the best medium to communicate their concept.

Students will leave SMWC with a portfolio of professional-quality work from their art classes. Each art major will graduate with marketable digital skills, yet still have the background of a fine artist prepared for a variety of art careers.

Art Career Paths

Arts Administrator

In the business end of an art and design organization, an arts administrator is responsible for the everyday operation of the organization. This may include professional for-profit, and many professional and nonprofessional not-for-profit, arts-related businesses. Duties often consist of managing staff, marketing, maintaining budgets, developing programs and raising funds.

Art Director

An art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance of an art and design project, and how it communicates and appeals to the target audience. They are often responsible for unifying the direction of an art piece that multiple artists may develop, and decide what visual elements and artistic style should be used.

Art Studio Manager

An art studio manager is often responsible for running a creative studio technically, logistically and in regard to resource management. They also often have a hands-on creative role, sometimes taking on the additional role of art director.

Art Teacher

With additional classes from the Education Department, art education majors will have the opportunity to learn through the creation of personal art through exposure to a variety of media and styles. Becoming an art teacher offers the chance to provide children the means to express themselves, develop learning skills, and stimulate self-esteem.

Art Therapist

An art therapist uses art and the creative process to help their clients deal with mental health issues. Art therapy combines knowledge of visual art with psychology and human development. You can complete SMWC’s undergraduate art therapy concentration to prepare you for graduate school. This profession requires a master’s degree in art therapy also offered at SMWC.


Often responsible for a gallery or museum's collections, a curator may decide what to acquire, and oversee the care and documentation of the collection. They may also conduct research based on the collection, work with other galleries and museums to loan pieces from it, and share it with the public through exhibitions and publications.

Display Designer

A display designer plans and installs displays in the windows of high fashion stores, family-owned shops and every place in-between. They work full-time with large retail stores, and on contract with smaller shops, to conceptualize and produce designs in order to promote the store's merchandise.

Exhibition Designer and Technician

An exhibition designer and technician is typically responsible for planning, designing and putting together exhibits in museums, galleries and other cultural institutions.

Freelance Artist

A freelance artist is self-employed and contracted by private individuals or companies to create artwork for a variety of projects. Becoming a freelance artist allows you to work on art projects that are enjoyable to you. Determining your strengths and carefully establishing your business and portfolio can lead to a rewarding career.


An illustrator is often charged with enhancing writing by creating visual representations of the textual content. Illustrations are often used in advertisements, posters, books and magazines, greeting cards and a variety of other media.

Surface Designer

Surface designers design the patterns for both two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, including fabric & textiles, paper goods, gift wrap, and many other products.