Areas of Study

Our faculty are committed to mentoring, challenging, and supporting you as you develop your voice, work with new materials and technologies, and learn histories and cultural contexts.


Art Student with apron and gloves in workshop doing detailed woodwork

Without discipline majors in the Art Department, students decide which path through the course offerings are the most appropriate for their evolving education.  

You can download detailed degree requirements + course descriptions here:


Drawing continues to be an essential skillset in the visual arts, whether you are generating ideas for more complex work in another media, or you are expanding the limits of what mark-making is in the 21st century.  Cornish offers numerous courses that highlight drawing’s unique place in the curriculum. Diverse approaches include life/observational drawing, explorations of mark-making, material, gesture, image and concept development.  Students can then expand into more advanced contemporary focuses, including drawing in space, wet media, text, and the use of digital tools.  


Painting is a major focus for many artists at Cornish.  The ability to manipulate both image, material, and color simultaneously makes this demanding medium both challenging and rewarding.  Painting students are encouraged to explore diverse approaches to the medium by engaging directly with representation, narrative, abstraction, and conceptual practices.  Traditional skills are developed in both acrylic and oil alongside technologies regularly employed in contemporary painting including photography, inkjet printing, digital mark-making and projection.


Courses in Photography explore both digital and analogue approaches to image making.  Whether they are working with analogue film in the dark room or printing test strips on one of the large format inkjet printers, students focus on the history, content, and skills of a contemporary photography practice.  Courses offered include opportunities for students to work with large format film, lighting fundamentals, shooting in a studio, digital image-making/editing, as well as alternative processes.


Students at Cornish can pursue an expansive print media experience.  Working with both traditional and digital processes, students can build skills and experiment with materials and methods of numerous print techniques: intaglio, relief, screen printing, lithography, letter press, paper-making, vitreography, and artist’s books/binding.  Photo-based and digital methods of image making are supported through the use of in-house laser cutting, large format inkjet printers, and photo-emulsion techniques. Students learn in a beautifully lit print shop with dedicated staff and faculty.  


Sculpture at Cornish is a diverse and expansive way of exploring space, materials, and ideas.  Students work through a range of traditional processes in dedicated fabrication labs for woodworking, metal working, ceramics, moldmaking/casting, and digital technologies such as vector-based laser cutting and 3-D printing.  Beyond these processes, students explore hybrid approaches beyond object-making such as performance, installation, kinetics, and social practice.   

New Media

The moving image is a compelling and effective form for conveying meaning found in all aspects of daily life.  Utilizing video, projection, Arduino micro-controllers, and various editing techniques and technologies, students in New Media courses explore the impact of motion and sound using composed or found imagery.  Emphasis is placed on skill-building, concept development, critical thinking, and experimental forms for video/digitally-based work. 

Critical + Contextual Studies (C+CS)

Work in Critical + Contextual Studies bridges work happening in the studio with in-depth explorations in art history, critical theory, and research practices.  Students gain access to numerous cultural perspectives through a variety of art, design, and architectural histories. Both critical thinking and critical writing skills are developed and supported in the classroom, which expands to include numerous cultural institutions, museums, and galleries within the Seattle art community.  This broad exposure and discourse creates a unique compliment to the work students develop in their studios. 

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