Art major

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From the classroom in Pella to the art capitals of the world, an art major from Central College experiences the entire spectrum of the visual arts. A strong foundations program in drawing, introduction to visual language, 3D design, and art history provides our beginning students with a solid basis in visual literacy so that they may excel in the classroom as well as the larger global community. The Central art department offers studio classes covering all levels of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, glassblowing, ceramics and metalsmithing. In addition, we offer a range of art history courses that explore art from the ancient to the contemporary world. Off-campus study abroad opportunities abound at Central and the art department offers its own specially designed class in New York City.

The Allison B. Allen Visiting Artist program annually funds internationally and nationally known visiting artists and exhibits, a highly unique program for a small private college. Recent visiting artists include Ian Boyden, a book artist and owner of Crab Quill Press in Walla Walla, Wash.; The Tibetan Monks of the Deprung Loseling Monastery; and Jim Masterson, a master blacksmith and shop foreman at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tenn.



News about Art

A Little Bit of Home

Hannah and Jessica Laflin are sisters, volleyball players and Central Dutch hailing from Arizona. Their friendship is a source of joy in their college experience far from home.


Investing in Community

Adam Bartelt ’08 helps Des Moines restaurants with promotional opportunities as the marketing project manager at Orchestrate Hospitality.

Welcome to the Fringe

The Fringe Festival brought together students in the performing arts to showcase their talents all over campus for a week. The result was zombie plays, lip sync acts and boat races on the Pond.

Message from a Graduating Senior

Rhiley Huntington reflects on the gift of a Central education and where it will take her and those whose lives she touches.

Days with a Dinosaur

Allison Miller Schwanebeck ’06, director of exhibits at the Science Center of Iowa, draws on her experience as a theatre and art major as she builds dinosaurs, brings in mummies and explains the human exploration of Mars.


Successful Careers

Selected Student Artwork

See more student artwork


Internships are a great way to gain career experience. Central students can do internships in the Pella and Des Moines area, on our Chicago or Washington, D.C. programs, or at one of Central’s eight study abroad sites. Past internships include:

Learn more about internships at Central.


Central’s art curriculum emphasizes studio work, but it’s supplemented by courses in art history, criticism and theory that you won’t find offered at some schools. Small studio classes — seldom more than 20 students — enable instructors to give personal attention to each individual and carefully critique his or her work.

Sample Schedule

Freshman year

Sophomore year

Junior year

Senior year

Get more details from the course catalog! (Note: this is a PDF file)


Central's Lubbers Center for the Visual Arts is home to the Mills Gallery, which serves as a resource for the art department, the campus and the general community. The Mills Gallery offers a dynamic schedule of exhibitions featuring art from around the world, and hosting visiting artists' lectures by regionally, nationally and internationally known artists. Senior art majors display their thesis exhibitions in this space. Central maintains a teaching collection of contemporary art works visible in public spaces throughout campus, integrating art into the life of the campus. The Allison B. Allen Visiting Artist program annually funds internationally and nationally known artists' workshops and exhibits, a highly unique program for an institution of our size.

Large, open studios with natural light are used for drawing, design, painting, printmaking, papermaking and book arts. Updated and well-equipped studios house individual classes for glass, sculpture, wood, metals and ceramics. The Lubbers Center for the Visual Arts includes high-tech classrooms plus a 15-station Macintosh computer lab with fine art printers used exclusively for art department classes.


No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group or organization that you’ll want to join! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central. Art students might be interested in Central's Art Club.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.


The art department review portfolios for scholarship awards once a year in the spring. Learn more about art department scholarships.