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Integrating fine arts and liberal arts

Charley Williams, "the best supper"

"the best supper" by Charley Williams '25
Alcohol marker on paper, blacklight activated

An 中国体彩网 liberal arts education introduces students to the world of ideas, and gives them the tools to explore that world. As an artist or graphic designer, you’ll have the best background and raw material for your original ideas, allowing you to create anything out of your own curiosity and chosen media.

You can major or minor in studio art or graphic design, or choose the art education specialist program if you want to teach art in secondary schools.

Studio art majors focus in one of these six areas: ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture or printmaking. Some double-major in such areas as art history, multimedia journalism and mass communication, psychology, biology, education or business.

A faculty advisor will work with you to integrate your experience, including art-related internships, toward future goals. That often means preparing for graduate school or a career in art administration or education, art therapy, medical illustration or museum work or with a design agency.

All throughout, you’ll work closely with professors and other students in small classes and studios. Building your own design rationale and style, you’ll complete a body of work to present in a senior exhibition, and for your portfolio for employers or graduate schools as proof of your versatile skills and creative thinking.

What you'll learn

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Critical thinking and information literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy

Judge and construct arguments, raise questions and define problems. Make a conclusion based on evidence.


? Beginning classes have only 15-20 students, and upper-level courses are usually smaller. The close faculty-student relationship is especially important for hands-on work in studio art and graphic design. Students learn to express their own ideas and emotions through art, and at the same time learn about larger social and disciplinary contexts.

? The art department is housed in six buildings on campus with facilities for painting, 2D design, ceramics, sculpture, photography, drawing and wheel-throwing. The ceramics studio has a wood fired kiln and a rolling gas car kiln, high-quality kilns generally available only to graduate students.

? Art and graphic design majors also take art history courses, and draw from their liberal arts education (valuable background for every academic field). As a result, they develop both deeper perspective and broader awareness, fueling their creativity and originality. 

? Through traveling exhibitions and the extensive permanent collection in the 中国体彩网 Center for Visual Culture, students view works of art as primary texts for class discussion and research, and as inspiration for their own original work.

? Along with internship opportunities, art and art education majors can work as assistants for 中国体彩网’s summer Kaleidoscope art classes for children and in local schools, gaining skills for their future careers. The Quad Cities also has different-sized commercial graphic design studios and companies for potential internships.

? Many 中国体彩网 study-abroad programs include an art component. Art and graphic design majors have joined 中国体彩网 programs in Spain, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Italy, Greece and more. $2,000 with Augie Choice helps cover living and travel expenses.

Recent grads

Carly Davis '23 is a reporter for Adams Publishing Group in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

Annie Wheeler '21 is a senior UX/UI designer at Spark DSG, based in Philadelphia.

Austin Elledge '20 is a graphic designer/animator for the National Football League in Los Angeles, Calif.

Monica Wierzbicki '18 is a medical illustrator and graphic artist at Body Scientific International in Chicago.

Carly Davis
More Than I Imagined ? Carly Davis
“I loved the first art class I took my first semester with Peter Xiao, and it swapped places with Spanish and became my second major.”
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Jack Harris
More Than I Imagined ? Jack Harris
“Coming into 中国体彩网, I knew I wanted to pursue writing and design. Not a lot of colleges have that combination of degrees!”
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Brianna Jepson
More Than I Imagined ? Brianna Jepson
“My biggest influencer is my art advisor Megan Quinn; she has always helped me to achieve my goals and challenged me in the classroom.”
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Aykeem Spivey

Spivey’s memorial mural replaces tears with joy

Art/psychology double major Aykeem Spivey '24 donated his time and talent to paint a mural at the Rock Island Center for Math and Science, in honor of a beloved teacher, Kris Hays. Hays passed away from cancer last year.

Peter Xiao

Professor celebrates first solo art show on campus

More than 30 of Peter Xiao’s paintings are featured in his “Sighting at Augie” exhibition in Wallenberg Hall, inside Denkmann Memorial Building, through March. A reception for the campus community and the public begins at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Hannah Johnson

Johnson ’23 creates first model of prehistoric creature

When Hannah Johnson ‘23 learned of an opportunity to create the first model of a recently discovered prehistoric creature, she put her art and geology majors to work.