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Visual Arts Major

School of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences

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Department of Art

(440) 826-2152


The visual arts major will help you develop your artistic talent and build critical thinking and technical skills that prepare you for career opportunities in education, advertising, arts management, design and more.

Visual arts is a comprehensive major that melds theoretical study with practical application. It builds proficiencies in visual communication, aesthetics, conceptual thinking and creative problem solving.

Visual Arts Major
Lilly Buttitta '19 in her art studio.

You will take a variety of courses in ceramics, photography, painting, drawing, 3D studies, visual communication design and printmaking. You’ll learn from faculty who are award-winning artists with decades of experience.

The visual arts program offers diverse hands-on learning and portfolio-building opportunities to showcase your work. You will also complete an internship, which enables you to apply classroom studies to real-world situations.

Art in Cleveland

In close to proximity to Cleveland, students can find many galleries and art museums (including the world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art) that offer impressive cultural opportunities for internships, field experiences, networking opportunities and more. On BW’s campus, Fawick Gallery features local and student talent.

Cleveland Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Jobs with a Visual Arts Degree

  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Arts manager
  • Gallery curator
  • Interior decorator
  • Fashion designer
  • Buyer
  • Advertising executive
  • Architectural services
  • Professor
  • Art therapist

Interested in Teaching?

If you would like to become a K-12 art teacher, learn more about BW's outstanding teacher education program.

Distinctive Seminar Experience

The BW Junior/Senior Seminar experience facilitates the transition from being an art student to becoming a professional artist. Upper-level art majors and visual arts faculty meet on a weekly basis for a range of mentoring opportunities, including critiques, workshops and guest artist lectures. This multi-semester course is centered around the students' artwork, leading to the amassing of their portfolios, and prepares them for their Senior Exhibition and professional work.


Offered as a major and minor, the visual arts program develops fundamental art skills of drawing, design, composition, color theory and more.

The visual arts major can work as a double major or serve as a minor for communications, art management, history and music, among other disciplines. Students interested in art therapy can combine a visual arts major with psychology.

The visual arts major prepares students to:

  • Effectively communicate a visual or conceptual idea.
  • Creatively solve visual and/or conceptual problems.
  • Demonstrate a high level of craftsmanship.
  • Develop a high level of technical skill.
  • Effectively critique their work and the work of others.
Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's visual arts program.

Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. You can enhance your studies through internships, student organizations and more.

Internships & Field Experiences

BW's close proximity to Cleveland provides easy access to opportunities at numerous cultural facilities, including the world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art. Most students have multiple internships prior to graduation. Educational trips plus field experiences at private art galleries, artists’ studios, auction houses and museums make learning relevant to your future career.

Independent Study

Independent study offers students enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom for individualized and advanced study. Students work one-on-one with a faculty member.

Fawick Gallery

The Fawick Gallery holds six exhibitions each year that feature work from BW students and Ohio artists.

Student Organizations

Personally and professionally rewarding, student organizations and activities foster skills in leadership and teamwork.

Visual Arts Club

The club provides opportunities for students to learn about visual arts and art history to help prepare them for careers in the visual arts or for further study. Members participate in on-campus activities and field trips to regional art institutions.

Arts Management Association (AMA)

The AMA provides service to area arts organizations and the BW community. It also sponsors professional development opportunities for its members, including all the arts (art, dance, music and theatre) as well as those that focus on not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. The association has partnerships with various organizations, including The Cleveland Orchestra, and assists in the promotion and operation of University-sponsored arts events and festivals. Member activities have included networking trips to New York City, Chicago and Toronto; Arts Advocacy Day Conference in Washington, D.C.; and grant writing workshops with panelists from leading organizations.

Clay Club

Clay Club is open to any BW student, regardless of major, who is interested in working with clay. Meetings in the ceramics studio provide the opportunity to create both functional and decorative clay pieces, from conception, to glazing and firing. Clay Club holds on-campus exhibitions and sales of members’ work.

Study Abroad Expands Career Opportunities

The opportunity to experience another culture and gain an international perspective is invaluable to your personal and professional development as well as expand your experience for future career options. Benefits include:

  • Understanding art from an international perspective.
  • Expanding cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Acquiring proficiency in culturally specific techniques.
  • Preparing for an increasingly diverse and international workplace.
  • Broadening academic horizons.
  • Improving language skills.
  • Experiencing a different culture.
  • Building an international network of contacts.

Graduate Studies

Students who have applied to graduate school have been accepted to some of the most prestigious programs, including Virginia Commonwealth University California Institute of the Arts, Chicago Art Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, New York University, Ohio State University, Kent State University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Tyler School of Art at Temple University and Loyola University.


Alumni have worked for significant cultural institutions, including Cleveland Arts Prize, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland Partnership for Arts and Culture, Cornell University, Disney, Ithaca College, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Paper Conservancy, National Gallery, Rachel Davis Fine Art, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, SPACES Gallery, TAR Magazine and University of Dayton.

Amanda DiLisiAmanda DiLisi '21, Art Instructor, Bay High School. "I teach painting and other 2D art forms, and continue to create my own artwork, which has been shown in several exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. As highly skilled artists, my professors motivated me to improve my work; feedback from faculty and students was also helpful."

Lilly ButtittaLilly Buttitta '19, MFA Candidate. "Since graduating, I have continued my art practice and participated in exhibitions around Northeast Ohio. I am an MFA candidate at Temple University and hope to teach art at the college level. One of the greatest things about BW is small class sizes; within the art department we cultivated a close knit and supportive community."

Celeste StauberCeleste Stauber '18, Gallery Manager, Morgan Conservatory. "I have worked as a frame specialist, gallery manager and I am an exhibiting artist regionally. I serve as a Berea Arts Fest board member. At BW, Rich Cihlar was influential to my career, giving me guidance as a student, including knowledge about running an art gallery; I hope to have my own gallery one day."


Darlene Michitsch

Chair, Department of Art and Art History
M.A., Art History, New York University Institute of Fine Arts

Darlene Michitsch

M.F.A., Studio Art, Rhode Island School of Design

Paul Jacklitch

Benjamin Lambert

Assistant Professor
M.F.A., Ceramics and Sculpture, Edinboro University

Benjamin Lambert

Erica L. E. Lull

Coordinator, Visual Communication Design
M.F.A., Kent State University

Erica L. E. Lull

Full-Time Faculty

Darlene Michitsch
Chair, Department of Art and Art History
Associate Professor
M.A., New York University Institute of Fine Arts

Paul Jacklitch
M.F.A., Rhode Island School of Design

Benjamin Lambert
Assistant Professor
M.F.A., Edinboro University

Erica L. E. Lull
Coordinator, Visual Communication Design
Associate Professor
M.F.A., Kent State University

Sara Wichtendahl
Assistant Professor
M.F.A., Iowa State University

Steven P. Ziebarth
M.F.A., University of Cincinnati

Adjunct Faculty

Megan C. Blocksom
Ph.D., University of Kansas

Julie Friedman
M.F.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Deborah Pinter
M.A., New York University/International Center of Photography


Rich Cihlar
Office Manager
(440) 826-2152,