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Visual Arts (B.A.)

Website: School of Contemporary Arts

Visual Arts Concentrations: Art History, Drawing and Painting,
Electronic Art and Animation, Photography, Sculpture.

Joint Program with Caldwell University:  Drawing and Painting with Art Therapy; Sculpture with Art Therapy

About the Major

The Visual Arts Major offers a multidisciplinary education in the arts with advanced study in one specialization. Students may choose courses in art history, game design and interactivity, 3-D modeling and animation, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and video. At the upper level, students specialize Kresge and Pascal Galleries in a chosen concentration. Their senior year culminates with a thesis exhibition in the Ramapo College Galleries.

The major begins with the core program of five courses: art and technology, drawing, sculpture, photography, and painting. Students then take art history courses and a range of studio courses leading to study in their area of specialization. After 20 credits of advanced, specialized study, students take Senior Thesis Exhibition,  Art History concentrations will take Advanced Research Projects. Visual Arts students also enjoy many opportunities to earn college credit as interns, working with artists or art organizations. In addition, courses with field work components provide opportunities for experiential learning in specific areas of student interest. Ramapo students have consistently developed competitive portfolios which have enabled them to advance their studies in graduate school, enter the professional art world, and work in art-related fields such as Art Therapy.  We offer a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts joint program with the Master of Counseling with a Mental Health Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization at Caldwell University.

Many of our students successfully participate in the teacher education certification program and find employment in elementary and secondary schools.

The Visual Arts are taught within a liberal arts context that makes the study and practice of art relevant to non-majors as well as majors. The study of art not only improves creative problem-solving, self-confidence in expression and enhances aesthetic satisfaction, but also reveals the social, political and ideological concerns of the culture that produces it. The art history curriculum in particular, develops this understanding, allowing the student to make essential connections among the world, the work of art, the artist, and the viewer. In addition, The College Galleries, directed by Sydney Jenkins, are an important teaching component of the major, bringing nationally recognized artists and curators to the college.

Members of the Visual Arts faculty are all nationally or internationally recognized active professionals who bring the understanding and immediacy of such experience to students. Ramapo attracts art students who want to challenge themselves within a supportive community of dedicated professionals. Students enjoy an intensively creative atmosphere and have greater opportunities for close mentoring from faculty than is usually the case in schools with large art departments.

Students with academic and career interests outside the designated areas of specialization may elect to design a Contemporary Arts contract major to help fulfill their goals. Visual Arts faculty can provide information regarding offerings in the areas of Arts Management, and related art activities contained within the Arts in Community contract major.

Students completing this program receive a B.A. degree.

The Visual Arts Teaching Certification program, certifying students to teach art in grades K through 12, involves a combined course of study in Teacher Certification together with the Fine Arts/Visual Arts Major. Students should refer to the guidelines for the Teacher Certification Program description in this Catalog and seek faculty advisement. Students can also elect to obtain certification in Elementary Education through the Fine Arts Visual Arts major.

The Visual Arts program is located in the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts and the Sculpture Studio. The Berrie Center houses spacious, well-equipped art studios where students can study both traditional and contemporary approaches to painting,  drawing, and photography, as well as 3D printing, game design, video, and animation. The new sculpture studio, built as a separate structure, provides facilities for metal casting, welding, and fabrication, as well as space for the traditional techniques of modeling and carving. The Ramapo College Art Galleries emphasize exhibitions of contemporary art in all media and provide opportunities for student learning in gallery and museum practice.

Ramapo College and Caldwell University have partnered to create a joint degree program whereby students who meet specified admissions requirements will be admitted to Ramapo College’s Visual Arts program with a concentration in either Drawing and Painting with Art Therapy or Sculpture with Art Therapy and provisionally admitted to Caldwell University’s Masters of Counseling with a Mental Health Counseling/Art Therapy Specialization.  Admitted students will receive specific advisement and will be monitored at prescribed benchmarks so they are on track to meet all the criteria of Caldwell’s graduate program.  Once students meet all these requirements, they will be fully admitted to the graduate program.

Outcomes for the Major

Outcome 1: Produce work that demonstrates proficiency in the core disciplines of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and electronic arts and animation. 

Outcome 2: Produce a series of advanced works in chosen concentration that demonstrates formal and conceptual cohesion and a distinctive aesthetic. 

Outcome 3: Write an artist’s statement that describes one’s creative process and positions oneself in relationship to contemporary artists and practice. 

Outcome 4: Apply formal concepts and use critical methodology to critique visual experience in a variety of disciplines. 

Outcome 5: Understand how to describe, analyze and interpret visual objects from other times and places. Understand how to locate and evaluate diverse writings about art including primary and secondary sources such as biographical, descriptive and analytical texts.

Minors in Visual Arts