A student works on a metal sculpture in Ford Center for the Fine Arts. #

Academics Academics > Majors & Minors



Mark Holmes

Associate Professor & Chair of Art

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Major, Minor

In all cultures, across time and place, art has been an essential means for expressing and shaping human experience. As such, it is an important part of a liberal arts curriculum that seeks to understand and engage with culture.

The Department of Art plays a central role in the education of many students, by providing a grounding in the history, ideas, and visual knowledge that will allow them to become thoughtful participants in visual culture.

Knox studio art majors are regularly accepted to prestigious graduate programs. The seven members of the faculty are a diverse group of practicing artists and intellectuals who share a commitment to providing our students with a richly challenging education to prepare them forfulfilling lives in the visual arts. 

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Easels in the painting studio.

The Program

The Knox Studio Art Major promotes the distinct benefits of studying art in an environment that reflects the values and goals of a liberal arts education. It is a rigorous program of study designed to provide students with the technical, visual, and conceptual foundations that will allow them to thrive in the most competitive arenas of contemporary art. Knox offers concentrations in ceramics, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography, as well as courses in drawing, design, and alternative media. Through courses in Art History and theory, and an emphasis on critical discourse, students learn to think and communicate about art with clarity.

Each of our courses represents the complex relationships which link the material and visual aspects of art-making to the full spectrum of experiences and ideas which make us human. Art students are encouraged to inform their work by drawing broadly on their studies in other disciplines. The six members of the faculty are a diverse group of practicing artists and intellectuals who share a commitment to providing our students with a richly challenging education to prepare them for fulfilling lives in the visual arts.

The major in studio art consists of 11 or 12 credits, approximately one-third of the 36 total credits required for graduation. Seven of these credits are studio-art courses, with an additional three courses in art history. Introductory courses in drawing, painting, design, ceramics, photography, and sculpture provide broad exposure to the artists, ideas, and visual languages that shape contemporary idioms and historical traditions of art-making. Throughout our courses, students expand and activate their knowledge through creative exploration. Visits to galleries and museums are part of every course, and allow students to deepen their understanding through first hand-analysis of significant works of art.In intermediate courses, students continue their creative investigation of the material and visual aspects of art making, while also developing critical understandings that will help them access the ideas of historical, modern, and contemporary art. The goal of intermediate courses is for students to come to a preliminary sense of their artistic interests, and acquire critical and visual tools for self-directed work in upper-level courses. Concurrently, art history courses stimulate students to consider art within a variety of theoretical, social, political, and philosophical contexts.Upper level studio courses provide the creative and intellectual stimulation necessary for students to develop their work through increasing levels of independence. Rather than dividing advanced courses by media, students working in all mediums form a challenging and supportive creative community in which to define and pursue their artistic goals. Exercises and collaborative projects are used to challenge or disrupt creative passivity, and encourage experimentation outside of a student's area of competence. More advanced students frequently take on mentoring rolls as younger students are initiated into working independently. These intensive courses meet for three hours, twice a week, to critique and discuss student work with two or more studio faculty. Through upper-level courses students integrate the complex web of concepts, visual knowledge, material interests, and personal experience, into a creative practice that is fully their own.


Located in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts (CFA), Knox's art studios are large, well-equipped spaces to which students have 24-hour access. Students can create in the 7,000 feet of painting, drawing, and printmaking studios which feature floor to ceiling north-facing windows, overlooking leafy campus scenery. An additional 6,000 feet of ground-floor studios house sculpture and ceramics. Advanced students are provided with semi-private studios, either in CFA or an adjacent building.Printmaking facilities include a variety of presses and equipment necessary for intaglio and other print processes. The ceramics studio houses a large gas kiln, electric kilns, clay mixing equipment, 12 pottery wheels, and other ceramics supplies. The sculpture studio provides a variety of wood and metal working machinery, in addition to a well-stocked inventory of tools and supplies. For photography students, both darkrooms and mac-labs are housed in other nearby campus buildings. Our off-campus facility, the Box, provides a 2,000 sq. ft. exhibit and work space for large, experimental, or installation projects.Knox's Seymour Library houses an extensive collection of books on artists, art history, and critical theory. The Famulener Collection of Prints and Drawings consists of works by both modern and old masters.Galesburg is home to Dick Blick Art Materials and a large retail store where students can buy art supplies at discounted prices. Dick Blick frequently makes generous donations of materials to the Art department and these are passed on to our students. All of this makes Knox an exceptional place for art students to pursue their creative education.

Knox College

Printed on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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