Studio Art

Major / Minor

Melissa Haviland talks with students while setting up her exhibit in the Olin Fine Art Gallery October 27, 2021 on the campus of Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa. Haviland uses domestic objects as a cultural lens to explore relationships: personal and economic.

Studio Art majors and minors develop their creativity and talent by making art in a dynamic environment. In courses like 2D and 3D Design, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, and painting, students learn the language, elements, media, tools, and principles of the craft, and hone their skills in W&J’s well-equipped studios.

In the Studio Art major or minor, you will hone your creative thinking skills and work on your visual expression through a series of studio courses, beginning with foundations in drawing and design. As you progress through the program, you’ll complete studio work in ceramics, sculpture and painting. Studio Art majors finish their experience at W&J with a senior art show in the Olin Fine Art Gallery.

View our facilities page below to learn about the resources available to our students to explore the depths of their creativity and vision.

Featured Student Art

W&J Senior Art "Senior Capstone" or "Senior Show"

Washington & Jefferson College art and art education majors graduating in spring exhibit their work across a variety of media in this annual senior capstone event, held in Olin Fine Arts Gallery. They begin preparing during their junior year by presenting early concepts/artwork ideas to the Art faculty. Following this meeting, they further investigate a medium, or concept by creating a body of work. In conjunction with making artwork, they work on artists' statements and rehearse an artist talk for the opening night. Usually, there is a large turnout of faculty, families, students in support of the graduating art student.

Hugh Taylor Art Travel Endowment

The endowment funds annual excursions to U.S. art centers and biennial trips to European art capitals at no cost to W&J art students.  Hugh Holloway Taylor was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1941, and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1963. He received his Master of Arts degree in art history from George Washington University in 1965. Shortly after graduating, Taylor joined the faculty at Washington and Jefferson College and taught art history for nearly four decades, retiring in 2002. Known as “The Professor” by his students, Taylor frequently led study courses to Europe. Upon his death in 2008, Taylor endowed the Hugh Taylor Art Travel Fund for students at W&J College to continue to experience art in person. 

Cities Traveled: New York City, Washington DC, Florence, Venice, Rome, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Barcelona Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin and Paris 

Tony Lewis, Class of '08

Tony Lewis, Class of '08

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: I'm a full-time artist.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: Exponentially. Patrick Schmidt, John Lambertson, and Pat Maloney were integral in shaping my relationship to art and art history. I think back to that time and those lessons constantly.

Katelynn Tronetti, Class of '10

Katelynn Tronetti, Class of '10

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: I currently teach art to grades 4-6 at Pine-Richland School District. This is my 9th year, but my 10th year teaching art. I truly believe that being an art student at W&J taught me to teach art rather than crafts as a teacher, and it has been more meaningful for my students with that mindset. I have not yet sought a master's, but I plan to get a Master in Fine Arts, someday.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: The W&J art department is one of the strongest rocks that I've been able to stand on during and after graduating. I continue to learn from staff and other alum that have and continue to exhibit their own work as an artist and teachers. Their own accomplishments as well as their encouragement has pushed me to share my own art and find ways to get artworks shown in galleries.

Corey Hopkins, Class of '09

Corey Hopkins, Class of '09

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you're not directly working in the arts, do the arts play a role in your life, is so how?

A: I'm a Senior Software Engineer working on clinical trial software. While I don't have as much time as I'd like to dedicate to art, I still maintain a small studio space and paint when I can.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you after undergrad life?

A: The art program gave me a solid foundation to pursue art, even as a hobby. I also grew to appreciate forms and styles of art I may otherwise have ignored.

James Cavalancia, Class of '10

James Cavalancia, Class of '10

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you after undergrad life?

A: The art department at W&J was a wonderful fit for me. Being unsure of what I wanted out of life, personally and professionally, the program allowed me to expand on how I thought about things. Being mathematically driven for the better part of my academic career, I found myself leaning on those concrete principles to solve life problems that were much more fluid. Through many discussions in the art department, I had an epiphany of sorts on thinking and was able to unlock newfound creativity in problem-solving. Art shines through in many ways, whether it be classical painting and sculpture, or in ways of thought. The W&J art department allowed me to become a better artist, problem solver, dentist, orthodontist, and most importantly a better person. Without it, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Sarah Beth Lowry (Wilt), Class of '09

Sarah Beth Lowry (Wilt), Class of '09

Q: If you have gone on to graduate (or post-undergrad training) school, where did you attend, and for what degree?

A: Masters of Education at Carlow University.

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you're not directly working in the arts, do the arts play a role in your life, is so how?

A: I currently teach 9-12th grade art at Bridges Preparatory School in Beaufort South Carolina. This is my 11th year in the classroom. After experiencing different schools in the south, I feel like PA (or most northern schools) prepare teachers significantly better than a lot of other colleges. As for the arts, I had such a fantastic experience at WashJeff, especially being able to study in Florence...I'm incredibly grateful for my time there.

Sarah Watkins, Class of '15

Sarah Watkins, Class of '15

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you after undergrad life?

A: I learned invaluable skills and life lessons from the W&J Art Department. Not only was I encouraged to be a well-rounded artist, my professors and peers helped shape me into the person I am today. While I was growing into my own as an artist, developing techniques, in my senior year, I decided to apply for law school. The W&J Art Department made sure that I would always be able to nurture my creative and unique spirit. I made a vow with my art professors that I would always be me, an artist, no matter what I did for a living. A few years into my career, I am happy to report that I am still marching to the beat of my own drum, no matter what everyone else is doing. I made a promise to my art mentors that I would never let anyone extinguish my creative flame.

Gretchen Cline, Class of '14

Gretchen Cline, Class of '14

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you're not directly working in the arts, do the arts play a role in your life, is so how?

A: I am currently a Research and Sales Associate with Winston Wachter Fine Art, a gallery in Chelsea, New York.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you after undergrad life?

A: The Studio Art courses I took at W&J taught me various art-making techniques which I now apply to my work as a Sales Associate with a Contemporary gallery. It is crucial for me to understand in-depth how art is made so I can confidently communicate it to a client. The Art History courses helped develop my interest in different art movements and taught me how to write about art. This was really important in my previous role as an auction cataloguer, and I use it now when I write about exhibitions or do research on artworks for our consulting clients.

Cassandra Olszewski, Class of '19

Cassandra Olszewski, Class of '19

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: Currently working as a mental health counselor at an outpatient clinic utilizing art therapy. It helps as a healing process for emotional expression.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: W&J really pushed me to further analyze my art and what it means to me. I was able to better connect myself to my pieces and ultimately better understand myself through the process of making art. This is especially important in my field of art therapy.

Stacy Herrick, Class of '06

Stacy Herrick, Class of '06

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: I am currently the Assistant Director of Communications for West Virginia State University's Research & Public Service in Institute, WV (just outside of Charleston, WV). I am in charge of essentially all of the visual communications that come out of our area.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: While I was at W&J, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something in art. My advisor (Patrick Schmidt) had recommended that I take some design classes with the ITL folks because he thought I would enjoy it and be good at it. I was convinced I wasn't going to like it and wanted to stay as far away from computers as possible. Fifteen years later, I work on a computer every day to do my job and I still love every minute of it. I'm grateful that Patrick saw something in me that I did not and that he pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone.

Adrienne Egenrieder, Class of '05

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: I'm currently an elementary art teacher for the Trinity Area School District and I serve as the head of the district's art department. This is my eleventh year teaching in Pennsylvania's public school system. I previously spent two years teaching in Bonita Springs, Florida and I started my career in the arts as an Assistant Director for the Washington Community Arts and Cultural Center in Washington, PA in 2005.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: While enrolled as an undergraduate I had the opportunity to visit New York City for the first time on a trip with the art department. I experienced the opening of an incredible art installation called "The Gates" in Central Park, created by world-renowned artists Christo and Jean Claude. I traveled through galleries in Chelsea and visited the Museum of Modern Art. I frequently think of this trip as an adult and how it has influenced my pedagogy as an art educator.

Julia Nadovich, Class of '17

Julia Nadovich, Class of '17

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: General Manager at Passionately Pets. I use my graphic design and art knowledge in our social media all the time. I also create and sell personal commissions on the side. 

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: The department is a great resource for questions plus a plethora of networking connections.

Rachel Mastromarino, Class of '10

Rachel Mastromarino, Class of '10

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: I am the Associate Director of Business Development at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I work in the exhibition department at the Children’s Museum and I am responsible for the management of the development, resources, and administrative needs of the traveling exhibitions program. I am also on the board for AAM NAME's (American Alliance of Museums National Association of Museum Exhibitions) professional network.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: I developed many skills beyond painting while an undergrad at W&J and many of those skills translated beautifully into my current career. Time Management: Being an art major takes a lot of time management. You need to understand how much time is needed to complete a project and then budget that time accordingly.

Jessica Sweitzer, Class of '15

Jessica Sweitzer, Class of '15

Q: What is your current position/title or job you hold? If you’re not directly working in the arts, do the art play a role in your life, if so how?

A: Merchandise operations assistant for United By Blue, a mission-based apparel company focused on sustainability and water clean-ups. Although my current role is more logistics and operations-focused, my degree in fine arts from W&J was a requirement to get into my master’s program and I know this foundation will be necessary again as I continue in my career and am able to get back to a creative side in a post-pandemic world.

Q: How has/did the W&J art department/program help you in your after undergrad life?

A: No matter what industry you are in, the foundation's skills taught by the W&J art department are essential for any creative/collaborative environment. Someone can have a creative mind, but understanding design theory, knowing how to use it, and being able to critically examine and criticise your work is what makes someone a professional. 

Studio Art Snapshot

Beyond the Classroom

Students in the Art and Art History Department have numerous travel opportunities to experience art firsthand. The College funds yearly trips to sites in New York and other major cities, as well as similar excursions to European art capitals every other year. On previous trips abroad, cities visited include Budapest, Rome, Paris, and Madrid.

Our students actively engage in creating and promoting art on campus, in and out of class.  Projects are displayed as public art in the halls and courtyards of Olin Fine Arts Center and in other campus buildings. Visitors to Olin will find student paintings, projects, and other pieces lining the walls. Seniors exhibit their work, ranging from paintings and sculptures to pieces created in other unique media, during the Senior Show in the Olin Fine Art Gallery each spring, an event open both to the campus and the community.

Studio Art Faculty