Studying Art at Warren Wilson

Warren Wilson College offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art with concentrations available in:

  • Painting & Drawing
  • Printmaking & Book forms
  • Sculpture & Ceramics
  • Photography & Digital imaging.

Learning the language of visual art and the skilled use of materials is approached largely as an experiential process at Warren Wilson. Our students develop an understanding of the history of art, gain practical experience with the creative process, and learn the technical skills required in various art media.

The department offers small class sizes and individual attention from a dedicated faculty who are practicing artists in a broad range of media.

Being surrounded by the full spectrum of liberal arts – literature, sciences, history, music, theater, outdoor leadership, social work, and philosophy, along with work and community service opportunities – allows students to broadly explore and incorporate their ideas and experiences into their artwork. Likewise, having the creative technical skills and a solid understanding of the visual arts language prepares our students to respond creatively throughout their liberal arts education.

Students graduating in the major have gone on to graduate school, worked as apprentices to professional artists, established their own studios, become art teachers, worked in galleries and with curators, and exhibited their work locally and nationally.

Faculty

Eric Baden, MFA – Photography
Bette Bates, MFA (Department Chair) – Printmaking
Julie Caro, Ph.D. – Art History
James Darr, MFA – Sculpture & 3D Design
Arlin Geyer, MFA – Digital Imaging
Leah Leitson, MFA – Ceramics
Lara Nguyen, MFA – Painting & Drawing

Facilities

Students taking courses in the department have access to our excellent facilities during their education and many of the work spaces are open to them after hours by arrangement through the department. All seniors in the majors have studio space made available to them as they prepare for their senior research exhibition in their chosen media.

Holden Visual Arts Center

This building, named for Reuben A. Holden, a former president of the college, was dedicated in 1986. The 10,000 square foot building houses two instructional studios, several photography darkrooms, a 45-seat auditorium, the Elizabeth Holden Gallery, and faculty offices. The gallery serves as the main venue for graduating student exhibitions in the spring, an annual juried student exhibition, and faculty exhibitions. The gallery offers art students and the broader community access to a wide variety of exhibitions, artist talks, informal panel discussions, readings, and other events that are scheduled with the intention of providing a gathering place for the sharing of ideas and creative work. All Holden Gallery events are free and open to the public.

3-D Studio

The 3-D Studio is located adjacent to the Holden Visual Arts Center main building. This building has ceramics and sculpture studios as well as an outdoor kiln area and foundry.

Lucy Fletcher Studios

This building houses painting and drawing studios on the upper level. The lower level contains studios for senior art majors.

Student Research

Undergraduate research opportunities exist for motivated students to work closely with a faculty mentor to explore in depth a topic of their choosing and to then present their original research and works publicly.

Special Opportunities

A recent collaboration between Warren Wilson College and the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design will expand the crafts and materials aspect of the visual arts offered here. In addition, the Asheville, NC region is home to a lively, diverse arts and crafts community that is nationally recognized, including the historic Black Mountain College and renowned Penland School of Crafts.

We support a local or regional visiting community artist each semester to teach a course in their area of expertise. Community artist courses have included glass blowing, figurative hollow core clay sculpture, and non-traditional papermaking.

There are opportunities to perform community service alongside the technical learning process. A recent example is a series of projects initiated within the Painting and Drawing courses involving large-scale mural painting.

Warren Wilson provides opportunities for our students to engage in the national conversation in all of its disciplines. Within the art department our students attend local, national, and international conferences, exhibits, and lectures through a combination of college, department and raised funding.

There are opportunities for students to work on one of the two art crews, Holden Crew and the 3-D Crew, that are responsible for studio maintenance, assisting instructors, installing exhibitions in Holden Gallery and organizing the annual juried student exhibit. Other campus crews that may be of particular interest to art majors are blacksmithing, fiber arts, and fine woodworking.