David Colson, Director
Main Office: R2110 Richmond Center
Telephone: (269) 387-2436
Fax: (269) 387-2477
Christina D. Chin
Vince J. Torano
Patricia E. Villalobos
The main goal of the Gwen Frostic School of Art is to provide education in the visual arts to the students of Western Michigan University. An innovative foundation program integrates traditional skills with recent computer technologies; while rigorous upper division course work allows the student to specialize in one or more media. The faculty fosters the technical skills, critical thinking, and creative freedom necessary to prepare students for careers in the competitive fields of studio art, graphic design, art education, and art history. Through our programs we also provide visual arts education to the wider university population in an effort to enhance art appreciation and visual literacy.
The Gwen Frostic School of Art also acts as a regional resource, working to advance the arts and their roles in our community. We provide facilities and instruction for special programs in the public school system, K-12. Through the exhibitions in our galleries, a visiting artists and scholars program, and a campus wide sculpture tour, we provide the community access to local, national, and international artists and scholars.
As artists and scholars ourselves, we also exhibit and publish our creative work and research. Through these activities we not only advance our respective fields in the visual arts, but we are better equipped to mentor our students in a world of constantly changing methodologies, technologies, and expectations for art.
Western Michigan University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and subscribes to the recommendations of this organization.
Only the Office of Admissions grants admission to Western Michigan University for undergraduate students. Application forms may be obtained by writing to the Office of Admissions.
Enrollment in the Bachelor of Arts in Art curriculum is contingent upon both admission to the University and approval of the Gwen Frostic School of Art, the latter of which is achieved through the portfolio review process. The student should begin by making application to the University and requesting portfolio information from the Gwen Frostic School of Art. Both procedures should be commenced early in the senior year of high school, or early in the final year at a community college.
Approval to become an art major is based upon the student’s background in art, as demonstrated in the portfolio application, that includes samples of visual and written work (art history applications include only writing samples). The Gwen Frostic School of Art’s portfolio review will help many students make a more intelligent choice regarding their educational career. Information regarding the portfolio process can be found on the School of Art’s website or by calling the art advisors at (269) 387-2440. The school welcomes the opportunity to confer with prospective students, parents, and counselors regarding educational goals and plans.
Students interested in pursuing one of our Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, please see below under Art Major-Bachelor of Art Education, Art Major-Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Graphic Design Major-Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Transfer credit may be used to fulfill no more than half the number of credit hours required for the student’s Art major or minor. Art credits earned at a college accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, or a regionally recognized accrediting agency, in which a grade of “C” or better is earned, will transfer in most cases. Successful art course transfer is dependent upon the degree of positive content relationship to existing WMU courses, particularly at the foundation level.
If you receive general art credit for any course you feel would fulfill a required art course, or for any course needed to fulfill a prerequisite for a course you wish to take, you must present a portfolio for consideration. Based on the results of this portfolio review, the course in question will either receive a direct course equivalent number or remain general art credit. General art credits can be used to fulfill the art elective category or be used as electives you may need to complete the minimum number of hours required for graduation (122).
If you do not wish to show a portfolio for any courses in which you have received general “art credit,” you do not have to do so. These credits will automatically be used as electives wherever needed.
For portfolio guidelines please write to: Screening Committee, Gwen Frostic School of Art, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, or call (269) 387-2440.
All art majors and minors are required to see an art advisor as soon as they are on campus and at least once each Fall and Spring semester thereafter. To make an appointment please call (269) 387-2440.
Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement
Students who major in Art will satisfy the Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement by successfully completing ART 3250: Writing About Art.
Students who major in Art History will satisfy the Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement by successfully completing ART 3270: Writing About Art History.
The Gwen Frostic School of Art utilizes computers in virtually all aspects of the visual arts. Our computer lab is open to all Art majors and minors.
Computer usage and design play a vital role in our Graphic Design Program, and our Design Center is fully equipped for exclusive use of Graphic Design students.
Each Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate must present a graduating exhibition as stated in Art 4900-4970 in the B.F.A. degree requirements. The B.F.A. candidate is to arrange such an exhibition in consultation with their B.F.A. Committee Chairperson. B.F.A. candidates must submit to the School of Art a minimum of two copies of their portfolio including 20 images of their art work; a description of each piece with title, medium, size and year; an artist statement and resume on CD before receiving a grade for their graduation presentation or final class in their area of concentration.
Art majors and minors receiving a grade below a “C” in a required course must repeat the course.
Advanced undergraduates occasionally are given studios. All other students may work in the regular classroom studios at night and on Saturdays. The School of Art and its instructors cannot be responsible for student work left in studios after the end of each semester or term. Studio classes are usually limited to between 15 and 20 students.
The Gwen Frostic School of Art offers the following degree programs: Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Art and an emphasis in either Ceramics, Metals/Jewelry, Painting, Photography, Photography and Intermedia, Printmedia, or Sculpture; Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Graphic Design; Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Product Design; Bachelor of Arts with a major in Art; Bachelor of Arts with a major in Art History; Bachelor of Arts with a major in Art Education. All programs are within the Art curriculum, which is composed of the General Education requirements of the University and the Art major requirements of the B.A. or B.F.A. degrees. The School of Art also offers two minors: Art and Art History.
Those seeking a broadly inclusive studio experience in art are advised to take ART 1300 and/or 1400. ART 1200, 1300, 1400, 1480, 2200, and 2210 are open with no prerequisites to non-art majors and can satisfy the Area I, Fine Arts, requirements of General Education. Art 2220 and 2230 are open with no prerequisites to non-art majors and can satisfy the Area IV, Other Cultures, requirements of General Education.