Exhibition Opportunities 

A senior studio art major exhibits his work in the College’s Cantor Art Gallery.

Studio art students have opportunities to exhibit their work in the Ramp Gallery, which serves as a multi-functional space for critiques, group exhibitions and studio art major/minor reviews.

In addition, the Fenwick Hall and Hogan Center galleries provide public venues for showcasing student work. Exhibitions in these spaces are curated by visual arts faculty and members of the Student Art Society.

Senior studio art majors exhibit their final portfolio in the College’s Cantor Art Gallery. Art history majors have the opportunity to curate professional exhibitions as part of a team in curatorial seminars.

Visiting Artists and Excursions

The department sponsors many arts enrichment programs. There are frequent visiting artists and lecturers on historical and contemporary art and architecture. 

students at the top of stairs at the worcester art museum
Worcester Art Museum

The resources of the Worcester Art Museum are integral to most courses in the department.

There are regular field trips to museums and galleries in Boston, New York City, New Haven, and Hartford. 

Community Engagement

Students in Amanda Luyster's Introduction to Visual Arts class interview an artisan from Rwanda who has settled in Worcester. These interviews are conducted in cooperation with the local nonprofit RAW, Refugee Artisans of Worcester.
Students in Amanda Luyster's Introduction to Visual Arts class interview an artisan from Rwanda who has settled in Worcester. These interviews are conducted in cooperation with the local nonprofit RAW, Refugee Artisans of Worcester.

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. Selected classes offer community-based learning experiences, engaging with the history and people of Worcester in a meaningful way.

Examples of Recent Work

Students Develop iPhone Tour of Art Objects at Worcester Art Museum

For the past seven years, students in some sections of Introduction to the Visual Arts have been able to choose a community-based-learning option for a final project. Together with local high school students, they initially created an iPhone tour including video, text, and images of art objects from the Worcester Art Museum. Due to the notable success of this project (written up in newspapers, tweeted by museum directors, even interviewed on local TV), a community-based learning option is again offered in some sections of the class.

Students Design for Refugee Artisans of Worcester

One recent community-based learning project in Introduction to the Visual Arts operated in conjunction with RAW, Refugee Artisans of Worcester. Students (in pairs and accompanied by one of RAW’s leaders) undertook two home visits to one refugee artisan, asked questions, and then researched and wrote a paper as well as designed a poster to accompany RAW’s crafts when they are sold. (We have signed an agreement to enable RAW crafts to be sold at the Holy Cross Bookstore!) This student-created poster increases the value of the crafts and makes them more attractive items to buy, which leads to increased success for RAW and its artisans.

Students Explore Affordable Housing and Gentrification

students outside
In the Spring 2018 semester, students in Professor Amy Finstein’s Modern Home seminar explored more than just the architectural variations of modern home building. The class probed the ideas of dwelling and shelter from the perspectives of design, planning, and social equity via course readings as well as community involvement.

The class partnered with local advocacy group, Worcester Interfaith, and conducted semester-long research projects intended to empower its community leadership and activism. Students worked in two teams focused on two major current concerns in urban development: affordable housing and gentrification. The class set out to measure and analyze the status of these issues in Worcester, and presented their findings to Worcester Interfaith and State Representative Mary Keefe via in-class presentations and final written reports. Throughout this process, students wrestled with issues of class, racial equality, private development, and the role of government in how cities face growth and accommodate diverse housing needs. The course’s community involvement made classroom topics real and more legible to the students, and allowed them to contribute to important local dialogues about creating equitable and affordable places to call home in Worcester.

Students Explore How the Planting of Trees Impacts Local Community

Group of students and faculty posting
The Spring 2019 seminar Designing Green-From Parks to Sustainability asked students to consider the notion of “green” in terms of the natural and built environment, and mankind’s relationship to them.

The class explored this locally via a partnership with the Worcester Tree Initiative, a local organization that works to care for, protect, and advocate for the planting of trees in Worcester. The Worcester Tree Initiative wanted to publicize their accomplishments over the last 10 years by documenting some of the individual stories of their tree recipients. Designing Green students worked in pairs to interview 12 “tree recipients,” and then documented their stories in poster and website forms.

After in-class workshops with Worcester Tree Initiative, the students shared their final products with the College community at Academic Conference, and also presented their finished posters to Worcester Tree Initiative. Extending to touch on issues as varied as urban forestry, bio-invasion, community gardens, shade, street trees, sidewalk widths, horticultural mono-cultures, pollution, and community food resources, this partnership allowed seminar students to see the myriad ways that “green” topics impact our local community. Visit the student-made website.

Student Art Society

The student-run organization strives to increase access to and enjoyment of student art on the Holy Cross campus through fundraising events, monthly exhibitions of student artwork and weekly meetings that foster new relationships.


The rich resources of the surrounding area, especially the museums and architecture of Worcester and Boston, provide students with opportunities for internships in these cities.

Recent internships include:

Study Abroad

Photo of sunrise in Siena, Italy by Annie Elbadawi '20.
Photo of sunrise in Siena, Italy by Annie Elbadawi '20. 

Students majoring and minoring in visual arts have several opportunities for study abroad in programs that support both art history and studio art.

The Siena Art Institute (SART) in Siena Italy is a semester-long program in which students can focus on their artist development in an interdisciplinary studio-based program. Students may choose to attend in the fall or spring semester. In addition to its studio program, The Siena School for Liberal Arts offers a Museum Studies program with internship opportunities in art restoration and at partner museums in the region.

Visual Arts majors and minors have also taken studio art course abroad in Melbourne, Australia and Lima, Peru.


Joe Metrano ’18, Architectural Studies and studio art double major, discusses his research on sustainable housing.
Joe Metrano ’18, Architectural Studies and studio art double major, discusses his research on sustainable housing. 

Summer research opportunities are available for interested students in both art history and studio art. Students can also work with faculty on research projects under the rubric of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World.


Tess Starshak ’17 worked with professors Amanda Luyster and Neel Smith in classics to write a computer program to reassemble lost medieval Latin texts. Her program is now publicly available on GitHub.

Martina Umunna ‘18 also worked with Amanda Luyster to edit hundreds of photographs of a fragmented tile mosaic. Both students’ work contributes to a full digital reconstruction of the medieval tile mosaic, including images and lost texts.

Joseph Metrano ‘18, Architectural Studies and studio art major, researched sustainable housing, the Living Building Challenge and green design initiatives at New England colleges. In order to raise awareness of the prevalence of sustainable building in academia, while also suggesting a possible plan of action for Holy Cross to implement net zero energy and water usage, he designed a suite of sustainable student housing modules.

Aiden Duffy ’17 created and designed a visual novel video game based on Norse mythology. This project involved writing a full script, designing the characters and environments and programming the entire game.

Bryan Gallagher '18 collaborated with Sarah Valente '16 on a website that features public art in the Worcester area.

Learn more about Summer Research in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts.

John Paul Reardon Award

The John Paul Reardon Medal and Award was established in 1985 by John Paul Reardon, a former faculty member, in memory of the late Rev. J. Gerard Mears, S.J. The medal and award are given annually to a graduating student for excellence in studio art.

2019 Reardon Award

The 2019 Reardon Award recipient is Katherine Badenhausen. The juror was Candice Smith Corby, the gallery director and assistant professor at Stonehill College in the Visual and Performing Arts Department. She was the 2018-2019 visiting artist at Fruitlands Museum. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions nationally and she was a Mass Cultural Council fellowship winner in 2008. The juror said this about Katherine’s work:

"This student’s work deserves recognition due to its high level of craftsmanship, cohesiveness, and awareness of image and content. The color palette is all related which speaks to a collective interest in light and quiet moments. The specific observations of unique perception is well considered. The complexity of construction is commendable as well as the attention to detail. The material choices are respective to their innate qualities. The artist is very aware of how to handle each one to their fullest potential. The artist statement is very self-aware and it is clear they are invested in working through various attempts to find a successful and desired resolution. Excellent work!"

2018 Reardon Award 

The 2018 Reardon Award recipient is Joe Metrano. This year's juror is professor and artist Jonathan Gitelson. Gitelson is an associate professor of art at Keene State College in New Hampshire and works in a variety of mediums that include photography, artist books and public art. The juror said this about Joe’s work:

"I selected the work of Joe Metrano for the Reardon Award based on the cohesiveness and quality (both conceptual and aesthetic) of his installation. I appreciated that although each piece seems to belong to a singular project, the methods and strategies employed vary greatly. The pseudo-scientific nature of these diagrams as well as the various sculptural elements (a light bulb with flowers, glass containers, and strange terrariums) reinforces the idea that this fictitious character is sincere, serious, and at the same time, absurd. Is he crazy? Is his paranoia founded? Who is this "Man"? These are some of the questions that left me exploring the piece for an extended period and are the foundation of why this piece is successful."