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Studio Art

Bachelor of Arts

MAKE IT! Clarke’s Art major is your pathway to the creative economy. Maybe you are career-driven and know exactly what you want to do with your art degree. Great! Clarke is the place for you. Or, maybe you don’t quite know what to do with your interest in fine arts. Clarke is the place for you, too. All art students take the same foundation courses in the first year of study in the BA Studio Art Program. These courses will ground you in contemporary practice in drawing, design, digital skills, 3D structures, and art history and guide you as you discover yourself.

The Studio Art Program includes coursework in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and ceramics. You choose a studio emphasis in one of these areas to develop both technical expertise and a personal creative voice. You will often work one-on-one with a professor in an advanced course so your instruction is individualized and rivals that of an art or graduate school program.

Ask yourself this. Are you a doodler, a dreamer, a maker? Do you value innovation, taking risks, and creativity? Is art or photography your passion? Or maybe you like to draw characters from your favorite video games or even create your own? Do you want to make a difference in our world? Do you want to work with professors and peers who challenge you to be more than you can imagine? Then, take the next step and launch your career as a creative with the Art + Design Programs at Clarke University. Clarke Art + Design faculty members will guide you toward a successful life in the arts. They will be your mentors in the classroom studios and beyond as you earn your BA in Art. Each is a successful professional in his or her field. They will provide you with immersive studio experience and assist in making connections in the creative economy whether that is as an art teacher, independent artist, design fabricator, graduate student, museum or gallery professional, or so much more. An art degree in Art + Design can also prepare you for a career beyond the studio. Art + Design coursework cultivates creative thinking and research, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and processes with discipline and focus, and the facility to give and take criticism. These are the skills and attributes needed to succeed in diverse careers that will be gained with a BA studio art. Individuals who hold an art degree are creative types that are poised to thrive in an economy subject to automation and workforce reduction. If this interests you, take a drive to Dubuque, Iowa, and discover for yourself the Art Program at Clarke.

Graduates with a Clarke bachelor of visual arts are poised to succeed in the 21st-century creative market. Clarke’s studio art program includes coursework in painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and ceramics. You choose a studio emphasis in one of these areas to develop both technical expertise and a personal creative voice. Clarke offers a bachelor’s degree in Art as well as the option of K-12 teacher certification. Not sure what career path to pursue? We also offer Graphic Design and Digitial Media Studies in addition to our BA Studio Art.

Program Details

Clarke’s bachelor of arts degree requires 48 credits in art. With this flexible schedule, students can double major or minor in a complementary area like communication or business, or complete K-12 art education certification. A professional and critical atmosphere encourages students to extend their artistic involvement beyond studio exercises into juried exhibitions, internships, independent study, and travel.

Opportunities Abound

As a bachelor of visual arts degree student, you will have the opportunities to exhibit your college art in Clarke’s Quigley Gallery as well as in the Dubuque community. Your studies culminate with the Senior Performance, an independent project created under the close guidance of a faculty mentor that is exhibited in Quigley Gallery. You will learn self-promotion strategies to help launch your career by creating a personal portfolio, entering professional juried exhibitions, and visiting galleries.

Cool Classes

Take a peek at the unique and fun classes you’ll take as an art major.

3D DESIGN — Tame the woodshop power tools and learn fabrication techniques in this 3D design class. LIFE DRAWING I — Draw like Leonardo da Vinci in the Human Anatomy Cadaver Lab.

BOOK ARTS — Bind your own journal and explore letterpress printing with wood type.

Real-World Experience

Look where a college art major in art can take you, both locally here in Dubuque, Iowa, nationally, and internationally:

  • Studio Artist
  • Etsy Shop Entrepreneur
  • Illustrator
  • Art Teacher/Professor
  • 3D Production Artist
  • Letterpress Printer
  • Floral Designer
  • Photographer
  • Interior Designer
  • Architect
  • Art Store Manager

Admission to Clarke University

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Apply to Clarke today to begin your journey.

Talent Awards
Art + Design offers renewable Fine Arts Talent Awards for excellence in performance. Award amounts are based on portfolio review in the bachelor of visual arts program.

Engaged in Community
Studio Art degree-seeking students are active in Dubuque’s vibrant arts culture whether working one-on-one in a studio mentorship or participating in active public art campaigns. Our emerging artists gain valuable professional skills and connections by working with internationally known muralists, sculpting with snow in an Art in the Park winter festival, curating exhibitions for the Dubuque Museum of Art, flexing sculpture skills as a fabrication artist at McCullough Creative, or working in the ceramics studio of well-known Paul Eshelman.

Read about Clarke art student and alumni involvement in the creation of “Solidarity” mural in downtown Dubuque. 

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Meet Our Faculty

When our bachelor of arts graduates speak about the Clarke moments that helped shape them, there’s always a professor in the story. That’s because being a faculty member at Clarke University requires a deep passion for educating, encouraging, and empowering students. Here, your professors will know your name. They will push you to develop your full potential, and then they’ll ask for more. And, they’ll be right there to congratulate you when you exceed even your own expectations. Often, it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

View Our Faculty & Staff
Louise Kames, MFA

Louise Kames, MFA

Chair and Professor of Art

I love to take students abroad and help them learn new things, such as how to navigate the Paris Metro or the London Tube. I encourage them to experience a sense of awe in unexpected places.

Jessie Rebik, MFA

Jessie Rebik, MFA

Associate Professor of Art

My ultimate goal is that, through developing their artist selves, students will become self-aware, empathetic, and have a clearer realization of who they aspire to become, as well as their relationship to their world.

Eric Wold, MFA

Eric Wold, MFA

Associate Professor of Graphic Design

I believe that teaching graphic designs as a process-oriented activity helps students to develop life-long skills of thinking and tinkering; to establish habits that become practice; and to develop a process that maintains creative curiosity across disciplines and technologies.

Getting ready to take notes in a Clarke University English Class
There’s more to college than going to class.

The Classroom and Beyond

But don’t take our word for it…

Our Students & Alumni

Hannah Goldsmith

Hannah Goldsmith

Studio Art/Sculpture '16

When I first came to Clarke, I was shy and introverted. The professors encouraged me to go beyond the classroom to visit local exhibits and galleries, as well as submit my work to various shows.

Megan Kalmes

Megan Kalmes

Studio Art '08

I received my degree studio art at Clarke and went on to achieve my MFA at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Now I am a visiting professor of art at Clarke. I’ve come full circle.

Jenn Rood

Jenn Rood

Studio Art with an Emphasis in Painting '16

I was part of the Clarke Art Slam Team for the Voices from the Warehouse Art Slam competition. I learned a lot about working to make a collaborative piece of art and also how to manage time and paint with an audience watching.


Amount in renewable Fine Arts Talent Awards given yearly.

Two weeks
Senior exhibit

The senior capstone includes a professional, solo, two-week gallery exhibit.

February 1

February 1 is the deadline for priority application to studio art program.

Other Programs to Explore

Experience Clarke Studio Art for Yourself

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