Multiple colors of paint

The Digital and Studio Arts Program provides art students with a broad grounding in traditional art knowledge and skills, training in industry-standard computer graphic software, opportunities to incorporate music, theater, cinema, and literary arts into their work, and the flexibility, resources, and opportunities to strike out on their own creative and career paths. In the first two years, students acquire a foundation of knowledge in visual communication, graphic design, art history, and a basic mastery of skill in drawing, painting, and three dimensional artwork. On this foundation they build the computer graphic/software skills essential to work effectively in a variety of media and art careers, acquiring the flexibility that will enable them to work in a rapidly changing field.

Program Coordinator: Paul Somers, M.F.A.
Faculty: Betty Delinck, M.A. (Artist in Residence Emeritus); Carlye Frank, M.L.A., Debra Dado Gyure, M.F.A.; Michael Kaysen, B.A.; Walter Skiba, M.A., M. Mus.; Paul Somers, M.F.A.

  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • Program Competencies
  • Program Director

The Digital and Studio Arts Program seeks to develop in its students the artistic knowledge, perception, and skill needed to pursue a satisfying contemporary career in the arts. As a Catholic institution, CCSJ faculty places artistic development within the spiritual development of the individual student and seeks to create emotional, intellectually, and spiritually mature artists whose creations are an inspiration to others and a service to their community.

The Digital and Studio Arts Program provides art students with a broad grounding in traditional art knowledge and skills, training in industry-standard computer graphic software, and the flexibility, resources, and opportunities to strike out on their own creative and career paths. In the first two years, students acquire a foundation of knowledge in visual communication, graphic design, art history, and a basic mastery of skill in drawing, painting, and three dimensional artwork. On this foundation they build the computer graphic/software skills essential to work effectively in a variety of media and art careers, acquiring the flexibility that will enable them to work in a rapidly changing field.

In the junior year (and earlier, when space provides), students are provided with individualized studios in which they develop their own digital or traditional studio practice under the guidance of a faculty arts mentor. Combined with training in how to run an art career, topics courses in practical skills such as grant writing, and required art internships, the Digital and Studio Arts practice classes prepare students for the challenges of becoming an art professional in the contemporary world. The program fosters artistic student cooperation through yearly art critiques, develops large project execution and job search skills via a required senior project and portfolio development.

Upon completion of this program, it is expected that:

  • Students will understand the fundamentals of visual communication, including the development and placement of focal points, the principles of effective composition, and the uses of color.
  • Students will know the history of art and visual communication, from the pre-historical and ancient roots to post-modern eras, including major artists, classic works, and significant art movements.
  • Students will understand the foundations of effective graphic design, including format, the elements of line, type, shape, and texture, and the principles of structure, including balance, contrast, unity, value, and color.
  • Students will know the uses, capabilities, limitations of a variety of art media in two and three dimensions, from traditional drawing tools to digital images and photography, clay, and computer drawing tools.
  • Students will apply drawing principles: the accurate perception of object proportions, linear contours, negative and positive spaces, values of light and dark, and rules of perspective and will develop advanced drawing skills in the traditional fields of figure drawing and portraiture, still life, and landscape.
  • Students will become proficient in industry standard graphic arts computer software such as Adobe’s Creative Suite: Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.
  • Students will analyze and evaluate both their own artwork and the artwork of their fellow students and art professionals in a continual effort to develop their own artistic projects and gain mastery of creative processes, from idea development to successful execution and engagement with an audience.
  • Students will understand and apply the skills of a professional art career with an eye toward serving usefully in a variety of evolving industries.
Paul Somers
Paul Somers





What can I do with this major?



Program Requirements


  • B.A.
  • Minor in Graphic Design
  • Courses

B.A. in Digital and Studio Arts (120 hours)

The following courses are required for a baccalaureate degree:

  • 38 hours: General Education

  • 12 hours: Lower-level Offerings
    ARTS 100 Introduction to Performing Arts or ARTS 120 Digital Photography
    ARTS 140 Introduction to Graphic Design
    ARTS 160 Drawing I
    ARTS 170 Introduction to the Visual Arts

  • 12 hours: Mid-level Offerings
    ARTS 230 Sculpture OR ARTS 234 Ceramics
    ARTS 261 Drawing II
    ARTS 280 Art History
    ARTS 290 Painting

  • 24 hours: Upper Level Courses in Major
    ARTS 341 Publication Design & Layout
    ARTS 343 Digital Illustration
    ARTS 353 Web Design or ARTS 355 Multimedia Computer Graphics
    ARTS 400 Advanced Studio Arts Practice (up to 6 hrs) or ARTS 405 Advanced Digital Arts Practice (up to 6 hrs)
    ARTS 496 Topics (6 hours)
    ARTS 499 Senior Project and Portfolio

  • 34 hours: Electives

Minor in Graphic Design (15 hours in Digital and Studio Arts Courses)

ARTS 140 Introduction to Graphic Design *
ARTS 341 Publication Design and Layout
ARTS 355 Multimedia Computer Graphics
ARTS 343 Digital Illustration
ARTS 499 Senior Project and Portfolio
ARTS 390 Digital and Studio Arts Critique and Seminar (0 credit hours)

* If students choose Intro to Graphic Design as part of the Gen Ed distribution, this minor actually takes only 12 additional credits.

ARTS 100 Introduction to the Performing Arts
3 hours
This course teaches students how to understand and appreciate the performing arts, including music and theater. Students learn to approach performance art from the perspective of the world in which it was created, and the role performing arts continue to play in our world. Students learn to identify the formal elements of performing arts, to articulate their art experiences, examining both in a social and historical context and drawing connections with other arts. Students study important elements, forms and styles, including some examples from non- Western cultures.

ARTS 120 Digital Photography
3 hours
Students study principles of digital photography and gain practical experience in the operation of a digital camera, scanning, and basic manipulation using Photoshop as well as a fundamental understanding of the history of photography in relation to culture. Students apply principles of composition, lighting, and digital techniques to the interpretation, analysis and critique of artworks.

ARTS 140 Introduction to Graphic Design
3 hours
This course, emphasising print-based graphic design, introduces students to the principles of graphic design and surveys the history of graphic design from its birth at the turn of the twentieth century to its contemporary practice in a wide variety of cultures. The course will focus on the fundamentals of the practice and the work of influential individual designers, design movements, and technology, as well as the role of design in advertising and the social and cultural significance of design in advertising and the social and cultural significance of design in different periods.

ARTS 160 Drawing I
3 hours
An experiential learning course in drawing for the general education student as well as art majors, students learn the fundamentals of drawing realistically from life, including drawing edges, spaces, relationships, values, and color. Students will draw the traditional subjects of still life, landscape, and the portrait working with both linear and mass drawing materials.

ARTS 170 Introduction to Visual Arts
3 hours
This course teaches students how to understand and appreciate the visual arts, including drawings, prints, paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Students learn to approach visual art from the perspective of the world in which it was created, the artist who created it, the viewer who responds to it, and the object itself. Students learn to identify the formal elements of visual art works, to articulate their art experiences, and to bring to bear cultural and biographical knowledge on their visual art experience.

ARTS 230 Sculpture
3 hours
This class is an introduction to ideas and techniques for making art in three dimensions. Visual language and understanding of form is taught through the use of simple materials such as wood, papier mache, and wire to construct projects and to solve visual design problems. Students will also understand, in broad terms, the evolution of sculpture throughout time.
Laboratory fee: See current fee schedule.

ARTS 235 Ceramics
3 hours
This class is an introduction to the basic hand-building, glazing and firing techniques used when working with clay. We will touch on the history of ceramics as a technology and an art form. We will learn about what clay is, where it comes from and we will touch upon the chemistry involved in the process. There will be an emphasis on pottery, form, surface treatment and function. Working on the pottery wheel will also be introduced. By the end of the class, the student will have created several glazed, functional vessels.
Laboratory fee: See current fee schedule.

ARTS 240 Performance and Stage Craft
1-3 hours
In this introductory, elective course students participate in a CCSJ theater productions in a variety of ways, including acting, production staff, writing, or (upon instructor approval) acting as a rehearsal director or technical director. On occasion, the course may also be offered as an acting course for students preparing to be in a CCSJ production. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

ARTS 245 Musical Performance and Ensemble
1-3 hours
In this introductory, elective course students focus on part-singing, vocal blend, characterization, choreography and performance presentation and the rudiments of music including notation, vocabulary, writing music and forms. Students who play instruments will be invited to learn the basics of accompaniment and music theory. Course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

ARTS 260 Drawing
3 hours
Students learn to observe, distinguish and develop sensitivity to a variety of drawing materials through an exploration of: form, value, volume, line, texture, perspective and composition. Students will work with various media such as graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, and apply principles and techniques to interpretation, analysis and critique of artworks.
Prerequisites: MFA 110 or consent of instructor.
Laboratory Fee: See current fee schedule.

ARTS 261 Drawing II 3 hours
This course in drawing is designed for art majors as well as the interested and passionate novice. This course builds on and refines the experience of Drawing I, focusing on a variety of tonal and color media, and emphasizing the line. The course begins with formal concerns, and moves toward explorations in invention and abstraction. The course includes vocabulary development, critical analysis activities and references to historical models of drawing and the evolution of drawing, which will include figure drawing and life studies.
Laboratory Fee: See current fee schedule.
Prerequisites: ARTS 260

ARTS 270 American Cinema
3 hours
This class presents an overview of the history of American cinema and some representative genres. Topics covered include the Hollywood style, film techniques, the studio system, the star system, the viewing of films and their relationship to society as a medium. Students view and study specific films coordinated with Study Guide units (Cross-listed w/EWPC 270.)

ARTS 271 World Cinema
3 hours
Students view and study a sampling of films from various countries around the world, from the silent era to the present day, addressing content and form, historical context and significance. Students also discuss how each film connects with them and their world today and assign an overall rating with reasons. As a final project, students deliver oral presentations on films chosen from an instructor-supplied list. (Cross-listed w/EWPC 271.)

ARTS 280 Art History
3 hours
This course surveys the history of visual arts from pre-history to the present day. Through a close examination of individual works of art, students learn the artists, the art movements, and the art theories that have guided the creation of art in Western culture from the ancient world to the present. Students develop their ability to look at individual works of visual art with an informed, analytical, and practiced eye and write about art with intelligence and sensitivity. Students will visit the Art Institute of Chicago during the term.

ARTS 290 Painting
3 hours
This course teaches students the knowledge and skills need to paint realistically in both oils and acrylics. Students acquire the basics of color theory, learning how to choose a limited palette, to see color as value, and to develop a harmonious color schemes. Students learn to build paintings on a foundation of solid drawing, attending to content, composition and color to express their ideas in visual form. Through increasingly difficult painting projects, students practice the demands of painting the still life, the landscape, and the human figure. Laboratory Fee: See current fee schedule.
Prerequisites: ARTS 160, ARTS 261

ARTS 341 Publication Design and Layout
3 hours
In this course, students learn the fundamentals of designing and laying out a variety of modern print publications, including newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. Students examine relevant general principles of graphic design and the design elements specific to producing modern print publications while learning the operation of industry-standard desktop publishing software. Crosslisted: EWPC 341.
Prerequisites: EWPC 103 and 104

ARTS 343 Digital Illustration
3 hours
This course introduces digital design through a lens of fine art and design fundamentals using Adobe Illustrator, the industry standard tool for graphic designers and technical illustrators. Content includes various features of object-based drawing application; practical exercises in basics of object manipulation including reflecting, shearing and blending; additional content includes subtleties of layering and Bezier’ curves toward creating professional, computer-based illustrations.
Prerequisites: ARTS 120 and CMIS 115 or Instructor permission

ARTS 355 Multimedia Computer Graphics
3 hours
Students explore computer-aided design media and various applications. Working with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, students learn the fundamentals of multimedia development and presentation and complete a series of projects.

ARTS 370 Video Production I
3 hours
Students study the history of video as an art form and as a tool for effective communication. Students also gain experience in fundamental aspects of project planning, basic camera functions, shooting techniques, lighting principles, and audio recording fundamentals. Includes preproduction issues, production terminology, and some introductory attention to post-production issues. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to work with the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro software to create a video, incorporate transitions, text, audio and incorporate some special effects.
Prerequisites: ARTS 290 and ARTS 343 or permission of instructor.

ARTS 371 Video Production II
3 hours
This advanced Video Production course emphasizes finished works, including post-production and editing. Students also build upon experiences in fundamental aspects of project planning, basic camera functions, shooting techniques, lighting principles, and audio recording fundamentals. Upon completion of this course, students will begin to master elements of Adobe Premiere Pro software to create a finished video works, incorporating linear and non-linear transitions, text, audio and seamlessly integrate some special effects.
Prerequisites: ARTS 290 and ARTS 343 or permission of instructor.

ARTS 390 Digital and Studio Arts Critique and Seminar
0 hours
In this monthly two-hour session, Digital and Studio Arts majors are expected to gather to critique new work, and once per term, to prepare new work for the purpose of evaluation. At these sessions, all of the ARTS faculty and majors will attend giving the benefit of the variety of faculty and peer perspectives on individual works of art and current trends in art and culture. Majors take this course each term they are enrolled in the program.
Prerequisites: Required of all Studio and Digital Arts Majors

ARTS 400 Advanced Studio Arts Practice
3 hours
This experiential learning course teaches students to develop a disciplined studio arts practice. Assigned a campus studio and guided by assigned advisors, students define art projects, organize studios for creation, establish a regular schedule of studio practice, and produce a coherent art project. Students meet in weekly seminars to learn the fundamentals of professional art practice, such as developing an inventory of work, registering copyrights, and building contacts lists. Includes weekly studio development, monthly critiques, and one Open Studio Show. Course may be repeated for up to six hours.
Prerequisites: ARTS 140 and ARTS 290

ARTS 405 Advanced Digital Arts Practice
3 hours
This experiential learning course teaches students to develop a disciplined digital arts practice. Assigned a campus studio and guided by assigned advisors, students define digital art projects, organize digital art studios for creation, establish a regular schedule of digital arts studio practice, and produce a coherent art project. Students meet in weekly seminars to learn the fundamentals of professional digital art practice, such as developing an inventory of work, registering copyrights, and building contacts lists. Includes weekly digital studio development, monthly critiques, and one Open Studio Show. Course may be repeated for up to six hours.
Prerequisites: ARTS 290 and any two 300-level ARTS courses.

ARTS 495 Internship
3 hours
The internship in Digital and Studio Arts enables students to acquire practical experience in a variety of professional settings that draw on the skills and knowledge obtained in their course of study. Work settings include art galleries, non-profit organizations, media outlets, etc. The program director must approve the internship, and a full-time faculty member in Digital and Studio Arts will coordinate the internship. The course may be repeated for up to 6 hours.
Prerequisites: Senior status or permission of program director.

ARTS 499 Senior Project and Portfolio
3 hours
This practicum capstone course extends from the disciplined studio arts practice. Assigned a campus studio and guided by assigned advisors, students reflect on their general education and their courses in the major, create a professional-level portfolio, and produce and display summative art project.
Prerequisites: Senior Status and completion of 6 hours of advanced practice




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