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Visual arts majors are offered a broad overview of varying cultural phenomena, and are provided many hands-on opportunities for creative investigation. Art history students develop their abilities to observe and describe, problem solve, and also to articulate arguments in both oral and written form. Studio art courses develop students’ ability to make sensitive aesthetic observations, visualize ideas, and think in creative and innovative ways. Students in both disciplines gain  knowledge about works of art and architecture in their cultural, social, political and historical contexts.

Art history reveals the past not just through a review of data, but through a search for transcendent values that inform creative expression. The field is particularly open to interdisciplinary cooperation, relating in special ways to studies in history, literature, religion and philosophy. The art history practice provides both cognitive and discursive skills to probe past and to confront current developments. It empowers students to see differences yet discern common links which, in a global, complex culture, becomes a means of welcoming diversity.

Studio art engages the student in the discipline of visual thinking. The interested student and the aspiring artist study with practicing professionals to gain insight into the creative process and the complex paths to creating art in a contemporary context. Studio classes compel students to broaden their vision and draw connections between the classroom and the outside world. The studio arts encourage precise observation and invention, inspire discussion, stimulate flexible, innovative thinking and develop creative problem-solving abilities.

Visiting artists and excursions

Both divisions of the visual arts department regularly sponsor lectures and demonstrations on campus by visiting artists, architects, and critics, as well as provide several arts enrichment and immersion trips to Boston and New York City.

Community engagement

Students engage the campus and surrounding community by presenting personal and collaborative art exhibits, and by giving tours of local museums and special historical exhibitions. Students are encouraged to pursue internships in local museums, galleries, preservation agencies and architects’ studios, as well as to take advantage of the College’s wide range of study abroad opportunities. Selected classes offer community-based learning experiences, engaging with the history and people of Worcester in a meaningful way.


Exhibition Space

The Millard Art Center's Ramp Gallery hosts a diverse arrangement of student work serving as a multifunctional space for critiques, group exhibitions and studio art major/minor reviews.

In addition, the Fenwick Hall and Hogan Center Galleries provide a more public venue for showcasing student work. Exhibitions in these spaces are curated by visual arts faculty and members of the Student Art Society (SAS).

Studio Art senior majors also have the opportunity of exhibiting their individual bodies of work in the college's distinguished Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery. The Cantor Gallery most notably provides a public venue for traveling exhibits, contemporary, modern and historic art.

Studio Space

The Millard Art Center consists of two buildings totaling 12,000 square feet of working space for studio art enrolled students. Millard 1 houses painting and sculpture studios, which includes facilities for woodworking, welding 3D printing and ceramics. Millard 2 houses printmaking, drawing, photography and digital/new media studios, which includes facilities for developing film, large format printing, scanning, editing and projection. In addition, studio art senior majors are provided with individual studio spaces to develop their bodies of work.


Students enrolled in studio art have greater access to equipment and materials used across diverse media through the Millard Art Center's Equipment Library. In collaboration with Dinand Library, students have the ability to loan a variety of photography/new media equipment in addition to hand and power tools, mirrors and more. 

Alumni Success

Majoring in visual arts, both art history and studio, produces individuals who have a broad and tolerant overview of varying cultural phenomena. Art history course work develops abilities to observe and describe, and also to articulate arguments in both oral and written form. Studio course work develops one's ability to make careful observations, visualize ideas, and think in creative and innovative ways. All these skills prepare students for a wide range of careers both within art related fields and beyond.

Studio art alumni work as graphic designers, costume designers, Web designers, photo/computer/digital lab technicians, master printers, gallery administrators, set designers, illustrators, exhibition designers, photographers, product and package designers, urban graphics designers, fabric and textile designers, furniture designers, and teachers of art. 

Art history careers include art exhibitors, auction house administrators, art appraisers, teachers and professors, art librarians, museum directors, curators, and educators, historical preservation administrators, art publishers and critics, and arts development, fundraising and grants management.

Holy Cross visual arts majors have also found their skills transferrable to fields such as law, business,  medicine, and retail.

Major or Minor

Visual arts students may major or minor in either art history or studio art. Students may also combine a major in one area with a minor in the other. In addition to 18 courses offered in art history and 20 courses offered in studio art, with permission of instructors, student majors may take part in advanced concentration seminars and intensive tutorials in either division.