Department of Visual and Creative Arts

Discover Your Vision for the World

Through the ages, important thinkers have maintained that visuals and vision are potent forces. Zhang Yan Yuan of China, the world's first art historian, stated that art helps human relations by allowing us to explore mysteries of the universe. Art, he wrote, completes culture. Years later, St. Thomas of Aquinas asserted that looking upon an object has powerful effects on the viewer’s mind and body. At Marian University, visual and creative arts majors study the many ways art has been and continues to be used as a powerful tool to shape our minds and our culture. Through centuries of creation and study it is apparent that artists provoke, expand, and even heal the imagination in critical ways. Embracing that philosophy, students are taught to see reality, design possibility, and inspire a new reality out of that possibility.


The core curriculum of the Visual and Creative Arts major is a vibrant and innovative experience for all students. It is unique among core art and design programs. Four integrated, team-taught courses encourage students to explore the creative process by way of imaginative problem solving through both individual and group projects. Students investigate traditional media and develop basic skills, such as observational drawing, design and photography, jus t as they would in many other foundation programs. But in the MU Visual and Creative Arts Department our students expand their thinking by: developing their own individual ideation processes; learning to think and express in symbolic forms; discovering how to solve multifaceted conceptual problems; and recognizing the social impact of the visual arts. By the end of the challenging, integrated studio sequence, majors are well-prepared for successful work in upper-level studio, design, and history course. They are also well-prepared to transfer their creative problem solving skills and approaches to career or graduate school.

Programs of Study

All Visual and Creative Arts majors receive instruction and direction from fully qualified, full-time faculty and area specialists in classes that are kept small to ensure personal contact. Every program experiences a set of core core that provide the foundations of visual understanding and creative impulse. Our team-taught cores include: ARH 240, ART 110, ART 120, and ART 255. VCA majors can then choose from four programs within the department of Visual and Creative Arts. These four programs include art history, documentary studies, graphic design, and studio art (with or without a concentration in art therapy). For the requirements of each, see the program area.

A range of experience address competencies within the Visual and Creative Arts Department's four major program goals: 1) creative and visual problem solving; 2) exploration of tools, materials, and techniques; 3) exploration of form and communication; and 4) investigation of the history, theory, methodologies, an the social impact of visual design in the areas of art history, documentary studies, graphic design, and studio art.

Want to Know More?

For more information about the Department of Visual and Creative Arts, contact Jamie Higgs, Ph.D. at 
jhiggs@marian.edu or 317.955.6432.

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