Art – Areas of Concentration

The Art Field Group offers a major that includes required courses in Studio Art and Art History, and an option for a combined major with Media Studies or with another Program of Study. More information about the programs can be found by following the links below.

Studio Art

In studio art, the relation of the artist-teacher to the students precludes the possibility of overly specific course descriptions, other than general indications of media and level of advancement. However, it is important to note that entry-level courses assume no prior knowledge. First-year students are encouraged to enroll in these classes. Lower division studio art courses focus on the development of individual ideas in the context of class assignments. Additionally, but no less important is acquiring an understanding of tools, materials and techniques for the successful manifestations of those ideas. The artist-teacher presents material from her/his experience, convictions, technical knowledge and aesthetic sensibilities in the order and at the rate which, in her/his judgment will best related to the needs of the class and the individual student. Classroom activities are placed in the context of an historical perspective. Ample opportunity for dialogue among the students and artist-teacher is encouraged. The advanced studio course offerings have prerequisites and as such, are oriented toward more complex problem-solving and projects, both for the individual and for the group.


At Pitzer College, “analog” processes and materials are the keystone of the photographic curriculum: film and silver instead of pixels; the darkroom instead of Photoshop; wet chemicals instead of ink cartridges. These analog processes introduce students to the history of the medium hands-on, connecting familiar digital technologies to a much larger critical and theoretical dialogue, one that includes post-modern critiques of representation, discussion of the use of the photograph as document and evidence, and the problem of photographic “truth”. Theory and practice are balanced throughout the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels so students are not only learning craft and technique, but thinking critically about the images they make and distribute, and becoming more socially responsible, engaged and skillful image makers.

  • Photography Curriculum

    Our comprehensive program engages students in the practice of photography with an emphasis on image production. Students are introduced to a broad range of historical and contemporary photographers and consider how their own work might fit into this trajectory. Throughout their involvement in the program, students engage in self-directed research based projects that allow them to explore their own interests while developing a professional photographic portfolio.

    Students interested in pursuing photography at Pitzer are encouraged to take the following track:

    ART 120 PZ – Intro to Black & White Photography

    This is a comprehensive introduction to the practice of analog black and white photography with an emphasis on image production using a 35mm camera, B&W film, and wet darkroom processes. Students will be introduced to a broad range of historical and contemporary art photographers and consider how their own work might fit into this trajectory.

    ART 125 PZ – Intermediate/Advanced B&W Photography: “Mixed Level Darkroom”

    This is an intensive intermediate/advanced level studio-based course that will continue to build an analog darkroom skills while introducing variety of new printing processes, techniques, and equipment which may include: large and medium format cameras, studio lighting, alternative processes, and hybrid analog/digital methods of large format printing. The course will also include readings, a final self-directed project, and group critiques. Although the acquisition of technical skills is essential to this course- projects will be idea-driven and content will be emphasized throughout the course.

    ART 126 PZ – Special Topics: Photography

    Once students have taken introduction, intermediate, and advanced levels of photography, they have the opportunity to take part in a number of thoughtful and challenging elective courses which change from year to year. Some recent examples of past special topics courses are:

    Poetics of Landscape: Large Format Photography – Students explored the photographic representation of the land as landscape within the framework of contemporary art photography. Working exclusively with large format photography, students surveyed a broad range of landscape photographers and considered the ways in which these images are situated within a complex relationship the real, the imaginary, the symbolic, memory, experience, and identity.

    Ecopoetics & Photography – This course was taught collaboratively with the English department, encouraging students to combine artistic practice with creative writing.  The interdisciplinary workshop was focused on creating works of poetry, photography, and performance that engage issues of sustainability. They explored texts and artworks from indigenous, feminist, queer, and intercultural perspectives, in order to expand notions of what “nature” means and how we interact with it. Students created individual works and collaborations, improving their skills in working in and across different media

    Unsettled Landscapes – This was an upper level seminar course in conjunction with the Mellon Art + Environment Grant. It examined the cultural, political conditions, and historical narratives that inform the work of several contemporary artists, poets, filmmakers, and writers whose work engages with the landscape as both a human and natural phenomenon. This course sought to emphasize the work of underrepresented artists, indigenous voices, and/or feminist perspectives on “landscape”. A series of visiting guests will lead workshops and/or conduct discussions and lectures with students on a variety of topics including: Navajo Futurism, poetry as activism and language preservation in the American West, Performance Art & Shamanism in Ecuador etc.


Pitzer’s sculpture program is designed to create a thriving sculpture community on campus, where students are encouraged to develop a day-to-day, experimental, and critical studio practice. Ultimately preparing students for their post-graduate studies by helping them develop a fluid work ethic, our program takes a rigorous interdisciplinary approach that incorporates studying objects and materiality with ecology, theory, history, and politics. This way, students leave the program not only with a broad set of technical skills, but also a contextualized understanding of participating in contemporary sculpture practice. Our facilities, which have grown exponentially in the past two years, including a wood shop, metal shop, and a general studio area where students experiment with a number of mediums ranging from casting to book making. With this variety of working methods, one set of tools and skills never privileges another, encouraging students to grow themselves as artists and pursue experimentation.

  • Sculpture Curriculum

    Students interested in sculpture are advised to take a combination of comprehensive sculpture studio courses as part of their requirements towards their studio art degree. The sculpture track is designed to teach students invaluable fundamental skills necessary to build an artistic practice. Overtime, students learn basic woodworking, metalworking and casting techniques along with the skills to participate in thoughtful critiques and discussions. The suggested sculpture track is the following:

    Introductory Courses

    ART 001 PZ- Introduction to Studio Art

    This course introduces students to contemporary studio art practice, emphasizing foundational strategies for artists working in all disciplines. No prior experience is required or expected, although the course is designed to accommodate students with a wide range of backgrounds. The first half of the course covers processes for working in 2D and 3D, including life drawing, color theory, printmaking, modeling, and casting. The second half of the course explores more experimental approaches to art making and exhibition, including found object sculpture and site-specific installation. Readings, research projects, discussions, and critiques explore issues in contemporary art history and theory.

    Intermediate Courses

    ART 127- Sculpture Practicum

    This introductory woodworking and metalworking course emphasizes craft through repetitive skill building, following a traditional apprenticeship model. Assignments will cover technical layout and drafting, as well as design strategies for working in three dimensions. Students will have the opportunity to design and build several independent projects in wood and metal, learning practical skills they can use throughout their time in college and beyond. Small group projects will focus on building workbenches, movable walls, and other items to improve the functionality of our shared studio. Outside of class, students will commit to working 6 hours per week in the studio.

    ART 074 JT- Engineering Materials

    This hands-on interdisciplinary course, team-taught by an engineer and a sculpture, explores the possibilities and limitations of various materials, including metals, glasses, and polymers. Students will learn the science behind material manipulation and transformation, and will put this knowledge to direct use in the studio, experimenting with different processes as they create sculptural projects. Synthesizing lectures in materials science and art history with tactile engagement in the studio, this course aims to create a collaborative learning environment that encourages cross-pollinating ideas. No prior experience in neither engineering or art is required, and students from all disciplines are encouraged to enroll.

    Elective Courses

    ART 057 PZ – Mixed Media Sculpture

    This sculpture studio course introduced students to technical methods for working with found objects, wood, and lost wax casting in glass, as well as methodologies for project ideation and concept development. Projects focused on the collection, reuse, and revaluation of discarded materials, as well as wood fabrication techniques for creating effective project displays (shelves, pedestals, etc.), moldmaking, and mechanized production. The class emphasized site-specificity, supporting students in making choices about materials and techniques that they deemed most appropriate for their artistic ideas and the environment chosen for the work’s exhibition.

    ART 175  – Object Ecologies

    This course explored contingencies of the object in contemporary sculpture. Beginning with the expanded field of sculptural practice in the 1960’s and 1970’s students examined how various artists and thinkers defined site-specificity, and the role that objects (whether fabricated or found) played in these definitions. The seminar also considered what spaces—beyond the gallery and museums—artists shape; how artists’ interventions are received by other stakeholders; how investigations in institutional critique, social practice, and online art are expanding current understandings of site, authorship, and interconnection; how new creative projects contribute to critical conversations; and other pertinent questions. Students undertook studio projects in woodworking, modeling, mold- making, and casting, and maintained a class blog.

  • Sculpture Facilities

    Pitzer’s sculpture facilities are housed in the basement of McConnell Center where there is a metal shop, woodshop and general working areas for students. Additionally, the courtyard is used for welding, an occasional metal foundry, casting and more.