From an idea to a concept to the finished piece, the School of Art is made up of a tight-knit community of makers who ideate and create one-of-a-kind art. Whether it’s using 3D printers, charcoal and a sketch pad, or a pottery wheel, student-artists use cutting-edge technology and traditional methods to produce stunning work that culminates with a gallery exhibition in their senior year. The school is led by award-winning faculty members who exhibit in galleries and juried shows around the world. The breadth and depth of the facilities and studios are unmatched by our peers. Graduates have a solid foundation for a career as a professional artist — producing, marketing, and selling their work or other opportunities such as teaching, advertising/marketing, or arts administration.
Maximum class size of 16 ensures students receive the attention required to help them succeed.
The School of Art routinely welcomes more than 15 visiting artists to campus each year for classroom demos and lectures.
Every student studying an option in the School of Art’s studio arts program exhibits their work at least once in one of RIT’s gallery spaces.
Madeline Rile Smith '20 MFA (Glass) engaged in a creative partnership with TikTok to produce dozens of videos that educate users about the science and art of different methods of glassworking. Some of the posts have gone viral.
Political cartoons from Rochester, N.Y., newspapers from the early 20th century are the focus of a virtual exhibit hosted by RIT Libraries’ Archives Collections and explores three timely topics—voting rights to epidemics and economic uncertainty. The virtual exhibit opening takes place Oct. 7.
The School of Art offers professionally oriented degree programs in studio arts (options in ceramics, expanded forms, furniture design, glass, metals and jewelry design, non-toxic printmaking, painting, and sculpture), illustration, and medical illustration. The studio arts degree is studio intensive and allows you to immerse yourself in a concentration, developing both technical and creative skills. The highly sought-after medical illustration BFA is one of only a few offered in the country. Medical illustrators transform complex information into visual images that communicate with a variety of audiences from patients to doctors to scientists. Graduates of the illustration program work for publishing companies, advertising firms, and corporate art departments, as well as create and design concept area for cinema, games, and animation.
The ceramics degree option lets you explore your artistic expression in a dynamic environment. The curriculum focuses on intellectual development and practical knowledge within the context of art, craft, and design. You will learn the fundamental processes within ceramics, such as wheel-throwing, hand-building, mold-making, glazing, and material science. Individual critiques and group discussion will develop your personal aesthetic and enhance your critical thinking skills. RIT’s ceramics degree option prepares you with the professional and practical skills needed to establish a career in your field. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
Artists have always challenged the definition of art. These challenges have pushed art into new realms of expression and the public into new ways of seeing. The expanded forms option, like the wider art world, extends beyond the traditional forms of painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Artists have expanded the possibilities for expression. Object making goes hand-in-hand with performance, installation, computer art, and multi-media displays. Students are encouraged to explore the full spectrum of experimental and non-traditional artistic expression. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
The furniture design option engages students in the pursuit of their creative interests while providing a comprehensive technical background in contemporary woodworking. The option focuses on technical expertise, freeing students to investigate a full range of creative expression and professional interests. A carefully sequenced curriculum begins with a firm foundation in the use and maintenance of hand tools, proceeding on to more advanced tools and topics in construction and design. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
Through a rigorous and diversified curriculum, the glass option cultivates artists who are as versatile in their making as they are in their thinking. Studio instruction in glassblowing, flame-working, hot and kiln casting, cold-working, kiln-forming, glass imaging processes, and three-dimensional digital technologies help inform each student’s creative potential with glass. An emphasis on research, idea development, material exploration, execution, and presentation equip students with the skills needed to succeed as professionals. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
The metals and jewelry design option provides a stimulating space for students to learn metalsmithing and design techniques. You will learn key processes as you work to find your personal artistic voice. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
Students selecting this option engage in contemporary visual art practice through a personal exploration of painting techniques. The comprehensive curriculum covers traditional methodologies as well as contemporary visual art practices. Rigorous studio practice and critical discourse encourage the development of a strong personal language that allow for effective individual expression. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
Printmaking focuses on concepts and techniques. Organized to offer a flexible experience, this option targets the development of problem solving and skill building within the context of printmaking. The curriculum addresses a wide variety of media, tools, and both traditional and technological techniques, as well as theoretical concepts to facilitate skill development and experimentation processes. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
The sculpture option engages students in the exploration of three-dimensional art-making. Traditional sculptural processes are introduced, such as bronze casting, stone carving, steel fabrication, and mold-making, within a curriculum that focuses on both formal and conceptual development. Working with a broad variety of materials, ideas, and practices, students are prepared to engage in the dialogue of contemporary sculpture. Over the course of the major, students develop the technical, visual, and intellectual skills required to develop a sophisticated body of work. This option is part of the Studio Arts BFA program.
The fine arts studio MFA is a two-year program made up of immersive studio courses chosen from painting, sculpture, non-toxic printmaking, and expanded forms. The program culminates with a thesis and an exhibit in the college’s Bevier Gallery. The Master of Science for Teachers in visual arts-all grades (art education) program prepares students to become certified to teach kindergarten up through 12th grade in New York state.
Explore the history of art and architecture across multiple cultures and eras. Art historians examine a culture’s artistic production, analyzing form, content, and creative context to better understand how art expresses the intent of the artist, the interpretation of the viewer, or particular cultural values and ideals. Students will use art historical methodologies to evaluate works of art, formulate a history of artistic style, analyze art in relation to its historical context, and engage with the world of contemporary art.
Explore the history of art, architecture, craft, design, photography, and aesthetic theory across multiple cultures, eras, and intellectual perspectives. Art historians examine a society’s artistic production, analyzing form, content, and process to better understand how art expresses meaning within specific cultural contexts. Students completing this minor will be able to use art historical and related methodologies to evaluate works of art, formulate a history of artistic styles, analyze art in relation to its historical setting, and engage with the world of contemporary art. The minor's emphasis on writing and critical thinking complements any academic program while the inclusion of visual analysis, historical context, and theoretical approaches to artistic production make this a useful addition for students seeking careers in areas such as the fine arts, education, design, communication, game design, museum and gallery work, or digital humanities.