Art at Aquinas College
  • two students in art studio painting


Why Study Art?

The Art department's mission is to train high school art teachers, artists, art historians, and visual arts administrators, as well as to provide service courses for non-art majors. Through our courses, we aspire to build an appreciation for the rich interchange of images and ideas that can happen between art and other academic disciplines. Our graduates in art have been encouraged to consider their future professional role in the context of both the contemporary world and the historical world. Besides a reverence for art history, they have been taught appropriate skills of mind, hand, and eye. They have been helped to find the next steps in their life journey, and have been challenged to be the best they can be in their chosen specialty.

High School Art Teachers: Please check back for our 2018-19 SCECH Workshop schedule - coming soon!

Apply to the BFA

BFA interviews and reviews will be held on APRIL 23 and 24, 2019 in the Art and Music Center.  The B.F.A. program (Bachelor of Fine Arts) is a 78-credit major which requires extra time in the studio and is a degree most often used to apply for the Master of Fine Arts.

BFA students are required to concentrate in a specific medium, and then choose a secondary area of concentration. See the requirements and options here Students are also required to exhibit their work in a culminating senior show in the Art Gallery during their final Spring semester. See the current Art Gallery schedule here

B.F.A. acceptance requires a portfolio. Repeated application is allowed (and even encouraged). Note: Students interested in the B.A. in visual art, are not required to provide a portfolio of their work for acceptance into the major.

Interested applicants should contact Betsey Ingraham to schedule a slot during our reviews: Betsey Ingraham, Art & Music Depts. Administrative Assistant/AMC Coordinator at (616) 632-2413 or

Alumna Chelsea Nix '09 featured in ArtPrize 2018

AQ alumna Chelsea Nix '09 states that Aquinas College imparted a lifestyle to her. A lifestyle shaped by the art department and service leaning while she was a student here. Is that why community and service, two of the Dominican pillars, ground her photography? Her 2018 ArtPrize entry The String Project, along with her husband Mariano Cortez, explores the idea that “we are all connected.” All the photographs in this series show people from all over the world holding the same string. From a distance, it looks as though they are physically connected (see the three examples of photographs from this series). Is it the idea behind these forty photographs that brings people together and makes them cry? Are the underlying values of community and service the reason why The String Project was nominated for a 2D juried prize, and was in the top 20 public vote this year? >Read More

Small classes taught by nationally and internationally renowned faculty equates to individual attention and successful mentoring.


Students have access to studios 24 hours a day, seven days a week which promotes independent visual exploration, fosters camaraderie and community among students, and encourages the work ethic needed for success in the visual arts.


Each studio faculty member maintains an active studio, most have gallery affiliations, and all have successful national and/or international exhibition records.


Art history faculty have proven records of success including publications and presentations at national and international venues, publications in peer-reviewed literature, and internationally competitive research grants and fellowships.


Faculty and students have participated in ArtPrize by curating, publishing, and exhibiting and have included Overall Winner in 2010, Top 10 in 2012, and Final Five in 2014 in the time-based category.


Students can participate in a life-changing biennial study abroad program in Paris which combines rigorous art history and studio training on campus during the spring semester with a three-week travel study in Paris in May.


All art students have free access to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and bus trips are offered each year to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art


Facilities include a new 25-computer Mac lab for graphic design courses.


Students have successfully secured internships at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Ford Library, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.


Six gallery exhibits per year showcase the art of students, faculty, and national artists.