From studios in Pella to the art capitals of the world, you'll experience the entire spectrum of visual arts while studying at Central. Our art graduates are working in a number of fields, such as architecture, graphic design, studio art and education.

A strong foundations program in drawing, visual language, 3D design and art history gives you a solid basis in visual literacy to excel in the classroom as well as the larger global community. The 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 in ancient through contemporary worlds.

of art majors gain international experience through the study abroad programs
  • Students work with professional artists through the Allison B. Allen Visiting Artists program and exhibitions in the Mills Gallery
  • Central is the only four-year college in Iowa with glassblowing as a regular course offering

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • Amanda Deerr ’14, K-8 art teacher at Prairie City Monroe Community School District
  • Samantha Scheckel ‘14, art therapist, Woodward Community Based Services, Des Moines
  • Allison Schwanebeck ‘06, director of exhibits, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
  • Taylor Scheulke ’12, associate producer, National Geographic, Washington, D.C.
  • Brandon Rose ’11, art director, Freebyrd Custom, Lonedell, Mo.
  • Lindsey Croghan ’10, mural artist, Ron Rieschl, Des Moines
  • Adam Bartelt ’08, marketing director, Orchestrate Hospitality, Des Moines
  • Amy Kaffka ’06, senior designer, The Dinex Group, New York, N.Y.


  • Art Club

No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group for you! Learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central.

Joe Jones '00 and Naji Naufal

Joe Jones '00 and Naji Naufal

Joe Jones and Naji Naufal started making short films at Central. Now, full-time film careers take them around the world.

Read More

Graduate Placement

Many art majors have continued their education earning M.F.A. and M.A. degrees at graduate schools across the country, including:

  • California College of Art, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Iowa State University, Ames
  • Leiden University, the Netherlands


  • Photographer’s assistant, Designer Images, Pella
  • Graphic designer, Fusion Fitness, Morrison, Ill.
  • Photographer/production assistant, Ventana Productions, Washington, D.C.
  • Intern, Little Angel Theatre Company, London

Courses & Faculty

Central’s art curriculum emphasizes studio work supplemented by courses in art history, criticism and theory that you won’t find offered at other schools. Small studio classes—seldom more than 20 students—enable instructors to give personal attention to each individual and carefully critique works in progress. Minors in studio art and art history are also available to non-majors.

Learn more about art in the course catalog.

Art photo
Meet the faculty:
  • Mathew Kelly, B.A., M.F.A., Associate Professor of Art, interest areas include drawing, printmaking, book arts, paper making, entomology, graphic design and theater set design and construction
  • Treva Reimer, B.A., M.F.A., Professor of Art, interest areas include installation and fiber arts, museum studies
  • Brian Roberts, B.A., M.F.A., Associate Professor of Art
  • Susan Swanson, B.S., M.A., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Art

Sample Schedule

First year
  • Drawing I
  • Visual Language
  • 3D Design
  • Art and Architecture of the Ancient World
Sophomore year
  • Medieval Art and Architecture
  • European Art from the Renaissance to Romanticism
  • 200-level studio electives
Junior year
  • History of Modern Art
  • 200/300-level studio electives
Senior year
  • Art Theory and Criticism
  • Senior Seminar
  • 200/300-level studio electives

The Central Difference

Art on Campus

Internationally and nationally known artists and exhibitions visit campus annually through the Allison B. Allen Visiting Artist program. 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; Jim Masterson, a master blacksmith and shop foreman at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tenn., and Craig Cornwall, master lithographer and owner of Trilobite Lithographic Workshop in Olympia, Wash.


The Lubbers Center for the Visual Arts is home to the art department. Large, open studios with natural light are used for drawing, painting, printmaking, papermaking and book arts. Updated and well-equipped studios house individual classes for glass, sculpture, wood, metals and ceramics. The building includes high-tech classrooms, laser engraver, and 3D and large-format fine art printers used exclusively for art department classes.

Art students have 24/7 access to the fine arts Apple computer lab located in the Roe Center. This fine arts lab is shared with the theatre and music departments and is equipped with the latest software specific to each discipline.


Central is the only four-year college in Iowa with glassblowing as a regular course offering.

Mills Gallery

The Lubbers Center 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 also maintains a teaching collection of contemporary art work visible in public spaces throughout campus, integrating art into the life of the campus. 

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.


The art department reviews student portfolios for scholarship awards each spring. Learn more about art department scholarships.

Student work

See more student work.

Learn More

Want to find out more about art at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.