BFA Fine Art

Lynne Sures BFA Fine ArtThe B.F.A. Fine Art program at the Corcoran is a nationally recognized interdisciplinary course of study that includes optional concentrations in painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and digital media.

During their first year in the program, students begin with studio classes in the traditional disciplines, paired with an innovative course that introduces them to the territories of contemporary art making. During the second year, students take multidisciplinary studio classes that emphasize artistic identity and conceptual thinking, in conjunction with workshops devoted to specific methods, materials, and media. In the third year, studio classes are paired with fine art seminars, where the term "artistic research" is put into practice. Senior year is devoted to thesis projects—the culmination of students' artistic development. Throughout all four years, students also learn about how exhibitions work and artists function in today's society.

Each studio teacher brings a different set of experiences and understanding to the curriculum. Feedback and critiques are generated by both faculty and fellow students, who learn valuable lessons in visual analysis and critical interpretation while helping classmates progress.

The Fine Art Department is known for

  • exposing students to a broad range of creative possibilities and encouraging them to work in whatever medium best suits their intentions for any given project.
  • a commitment to treating students as independent, individual talents capable of devising unique solutions to any given visual problem.
  • combining expert instruction in technique with a rigorous insistence on critical thinking and interpretation.
  • bringing art history, contemporary culture, and critical theory to bear on classroom critique.
  • preparing fine art majors for success as graduate students, independent artists, teachers of art, and in a growing range of exciting careers in the creative economy.


The BFA degree in Fine Art is a four-year, full-time program requiring 120 credits for completion. Studies in the major begin in freshman year with studio courses in drawing, painting, and sculpture; in subsequent semesters students in Fine Art Studio are presented with open-ended assignments that allow work in any medium of their choosing. Courses of focused study include ceramics, painting and drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and performance and time-based media.

Studio course requirements by student year


    • FN1090- First Year Studio I

    • FN1091-First Year Studio II

    • FA1090-Fine Art Fundamentals I: Drawing

    • FA1091-Fine Art Fundamentals II: Painting and/or

    • FA1092-Fine Art Fundamentals II: Sculpture


    • FA2090-Fine Art Studio I

    • FA2091-Fine Art Studio II

    • FA2122, FA2123, FA2124, FA2125, FA2126-Medium/Materials Workshops in Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics, Sculpture, and Time-Based Media (one per semester)


    • FA3090-Fine Art Studio III

    • FA3120-Fine Art Seminar I

    • FA3091-Fine Art Studio IV

    • FA3121-Fine Art Seminar II

Junior or Senior

    • FA4170-Professional Practices for Fine Arts


    • FA4090-Fine Art Thesis I

    • FA4091-Fine Art Thesis II

A sample of studio electives for concentrations and for general majors


• FA2126-Medium/Materials Workshop: Ceramic Practice, Earth to Stone
• CR1253/CR2253-Introduction to the Wheel/Intermediate Wheel: Poetry of Pottery
• CR2236 -Images in Clay
• CR2380 -Sculpture in Clay
• CR3600 -Hand Building the Figure
• CR4210-Advanced Ceramic Techniques

Painting and drawing

    • FA1090-Fine Art Fundamentals I: Drawing

    • FA2200-Intermediate Drawing

    • FA2201 -Drawing Strategies and Practices

    • FA2202- Introduction to Illustration

    • FA1091-Fine Art Fundamentals II: Painting

    • FA2124-Medium/Materials Workshop: Painting I Basics

    • FA2210-Intermediate Painting

    • FA4210 -Advanced Painting Studio


    • FA2125-Medium/Materials Workshop: Repetition and Change

    • PR3361-Wood Block Print: Traditional and Contemporary

    • PR2403-Book Arts: Concept and Content

    • PR2423-2-D Applications in Paper

    • PR3250 -Lithography

    • PR2300 -Screenprinting

    • PR4350 -Advanced Printmaking


    • FA1092-Fine Art Fundamentals II: Sculpture

    • FA2123-Medium/Materials Workshop I: Object and Environment

    • SL2252 -Metal and Metalsmithing

    • SL3352 -Wood as Sculpture

    • SL3301 -Topics in Sculpture: the Human Body

    • SL3451 -Sculpture and New Technologies

    • SL3260-Mold Making and Casting

    • FA4311 -Installation Art

Performance and Time-Based Media

    • FA2122-Medium/Materials Workshop I: Time Based Media

    • FA¬¬¬¬3240-Wear, Strut, Occupy

    • FA3306-Performative Media

    • FA3511- Public/Spectacle: Contemporary Performance from Pop Culture to Social

    • Practice


A Bachelor of Fine Art degree is valuable evidence of creative thinking, a skill much valued in the business world as well as in the art world.

Possible careers in fine art include

o Exhibiting artist
o Museum/Gallery World
o Preparator
o Design department
o Conservation
o Curatorial
o Administrative
o Illustration
o Book
o Medical
o 'Zines
o Gaming Design
o Cartooning
o Fashion
o Education/teaching Art
o Colleges and universities
o K-12 education
o Community outreach
o Workshop instructor
o Artists' Studio Assistants
o Public Art
o Murals
o Bus and train stops (signage and structures)
o Theater/Movies
o Set Design
o Costume Design
o Lighting and Sound Design
o Prop design
o Make-up
o Architecture
o Model builders
o Marketing
o Advertising, web design
o Window and Store Display

 Fine Art Faculty

Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Program Head, Printmaking
Adjunct Faculty
Associate Professor
Professor of Fine Arts
Adjunct Faculty
Adjunct Faculty
Adjunct Faculty
Carolyn S. Alper Professor of Contemporary Arts
Professor and Chair of Fine Arts
Associate Faculty, Sophomore Fine Arts Coordinator
Associate Faculty
Professor, Chair of Fine Art
Adjunct Faculty
Professor, Chair of Foundation Studies
Associate Faculty
Adjunct Faculty

Department Life

Students in the Department of Fine Art are encouraged to get involved in off-site exhibitions, artistic collaborations, and artistic productions that can help their career development. Students can also create new interest clubs or get involved in existing ones such as the Performance Club and the Painting Club, which offer students opportunities to share and support each others' work.
Art Incite Talks—another venue for peer and professional collaboration—are offered several times a year for the entire college. These 30-minute sessions involve five faculty members and students each presenting a five-minute illustrated talk on a subject of personal interest. The subjects are unlimited—ranging from an arts district in Beijing to the nature and artistry of orchids—and the energy invariably high.

In printmaking, students and faculty create an annual portfolio of prints in screenprint, etching, lithography, and woodcut, using traditional, photographic, and newer digital techniques. The result is a compilation of works are featured at conferences and exhibitions nationwide as well as in Washington, D.C. Some of these portfolios have been accepted into major national collections.

Students focusing on ceramics have access to state-of-the-art kilns that allow large-scale works to be created on the premises. In addition, with regular visits by ceramics luminaries, students are exposed to the rich variety of possibilities in the field. Every year ceramics students and faculty work together to support S.O.M.E. Bowls, a creative way to give back to the Washington, D.C., community by raising funds for a major food bank in the city.

Students interested in sculpture and installation can work in non-traditional or traditional techniques using wood, metal, and stone; they can also experiment with the moldmaking and casting properties of new materials and reach into the innovative areas of 3D printing and digital means of sculpture. Visiting artists bring additional excitement to the sculpture studios and share their expertise with students.

The (e)merge Art Fair and other fairs, festivals, and collaborations
During the past several years of the (e)merge Art Fair, Washington's own international art fair, Fine Art faculty and students have had exhibitions as well as administrative roles at the fair. In addition, senior students have had offsite shows at Gateway Arts Center in Brentwood, Md., and Area 405 Gallery in Baltimore.

Junior year students recently held an offsite exhibition called "One Night Stand" at the Fridge in Washington, D.C., for which they worked as a team on promotion, installation, and logistics for the opening reception.

Students also participate on a regular basis as assistants to professional artists who come to the Washington, D.C., area to install their exhibitions. Students have professional opportunities such as overseas exchange exhibitions partnered with the Accademia di Brera in Milan, Italy.

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