The Department of Art and Art History is housed in Melchers Hall, the right wing of the duPont arts complex, and offers two distinct but interrelated degrees: Studio Art and Art History. Nine full-time faculty and five adjunct faculty, all active professionally, teach over 50 courses each year between the two disciplines. The department has over 100 declared majors and houses seven art studios, a darkroom, two art history lecture rooms, a seminar room, and a digital media lab. Melchers on the Porch, located on our second floor landing offers students a place to engage in lively discussions about art in a more casual environment. Students have access to historic and contemporary art exhibits featured in our two galleries, Ridderhof Martin Gallery and DuPont Gallery, and attend lectures related to exhibitions and art historical critical analysis.
Dedicated to the advancement of creativity, we are leaders in digital initiatives. Our lab includes fifteen iMacs, each equipped with Adobe Creative Suite. Our majors can expect close working relationships with their faculty and active and engaging discussions about art. Upper-level students have a number of opportunities to work on more focused scholarly research under the formats of internships, individual studies, URES, and Honors. Our students are regular recipients of the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Grants and we offer a healthy number of departmental scholarships and awards, including the Rosalie Chauncey Scholarship for the Study of Painting in France.
The department is an active participant in Fredericksburg’s First Friday art openings and our students oversee the Visitors Center’s Gallery VC, featuring student work on a regular basis. Our students exhibit in downtown venues, including LibertyTown Arts Center and the Old Stone Warehouse.
In the spirit of our generous benefactors Gari Melchers, an American impressionist, and Phyllis Ridderhof Martin, a colorist working in the Bay Area Figurative Style, our students learn to be curious observers, perceptive researchers, and creative translators of all that is art.