The School of Art’s broad-based Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program aims to develop each student’s knowledge of and commitment to the skills necessary to work as contemporary artists in a rapidly changing global culture. The program is a vehicle for the exploration of technique, critique, theory, and practice through rigorous academic and studio-based coursework, closely engaged faculty, and expansive opportunities for collaboration across both the school and the university’s spectrum of research areas.
Within the BFA program there are four primary concentrations which allow students to pursue particular areas of media-based study or to combine areas of interest to create hybrid or specialized practices.
Drawing, Painting, Print Media, and Photography: addresses an array of two-dimensional processes, ranging from traditional to emerging or unconventional media, applied to perceptual and conceptual issues. Coursework in this area considers historical approaches to contemporary issues through the exploration of manual, mechanical, and electronic image making.
Sculpture, Installation, and Site-Work: offers students the opportunity to investigate the dynamics of three-dimensional objects and environments. Coursework embraces the challenging and ever-evolving definition of sculpture, placing great value in process as a way to discover the capabilities of material and the phenomena of space. Students are pushed to explore myriad methods for fabrication including digital, virtual, and human-computer interactivity, in addition to time-honored tools for building and assemblage.
Electronic and Time Based Media: explores the creative potential of emerging technologies and the critical impact they have on contemporary culture. Curriculum implicitly encourages cross-disciplinary study and as such, many students merge fine art and computer science based interests either within the BFA program or through the unique BCSA degree program. Areas of focus include animation, video and performance, tactical media, computational and interactive art, bioart, tangible media, and game arts. Students particularly interested in the intersection of art and technology can take advantage of expanded course offerings through the IDeATe Program.
Contextual Practice: is the first such undergraduate program of its kind in the United States, engaging students in the study and production of socially engaged art projects that respond to specific public contexts and audiences. All Art majors are required to take at least one Contextual Practice class during their time at CMU. The area offers a range of exciting experimental approaches to making art including: street art, participatory art, urban interventions, interactive social media, public installations, and politically engaged art.
Work by graduating seniors in the BFA and BXA programs is showcased in a final group exhibition presented in the Miller ICA at the close of each spring semester.