Jan 24, 2021  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Visual and Performing Arts

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School of Liberal Arts


Chair: Associate Professor Nancy Wynn

Professor Ellen Longsworth

Associate Professor Kathleen Sills

Associate Professor Laura Moore Pruett

Assistant Professor Dan Vlahos

Assistant Professor Jonathan Latiano

Professor of Practice Fr. Richard Piatt, O.S.A.

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts offers a variety of courses in studio art and art history, graphic design, music, and theatre as well as degree programs in Art and Art History, Theatre, and Graphic Design. Students are presented with opportunities for study in art practice, history and theory; in theatre practice, theory, performance, and appreciation; in music history, theory, appreciation, and performance; and in graphic design practice, history and theory. All of our programs explore traditional and innovative processes and practices of the visual arts and performance. 

The courses offered by the Department serve to introduce students to the artistic traditions that are their heritage and to enable them to participate in the continuation and enrichment of these traditions. The Department offers three major programs and six minor programs.

The Visual and Performing Arts Major in Art and Art History

The major in art and art history gives the student both a broad-based and a focused, historical education in the arts. The core of the major consists of general history courses in art (i.e. painting, sculpture, architecture and related media), music, photography, and theatre, coupled with studio experience. More intensive courses in art, music, photography, theatre and literature (as appropriate to the chosen period) are then taken in combination so that the student emerges from the major with an informed view of the arts in a given period, such as the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Romantic, or the Modern. A senior seminar with thesis provides students with the opportunity to relate in a meaningful and substantial manner the various strands of their coursework in the arts. The senior seminar is preceded by a course in methodology and art literature that prepares students for this capstone experience of their senior year. Majors are encouraged to attend cultural affairs on-and-off-campus: concerts, gallery exhibitions, lectures, and the like.

The Visual and Performing Arts Major in Graphic Design

The Graphic Design Major at Merrimack College offers students a rich blend of art and design history, together with diverse opportunities to develop their artistic and creative expression in both design and the studio arts. Students receive a strong foundation in design thinking, theory, process and practice, along with a background in the Liberal Arts. The program challenges students to learn through research, critical questioning, problem analysis, and the methodologies of the design industry. Students also develop an understanding and working knowledge of current industry-standard technical skills.

The Graphic Design curriculum helps students build their knowledge, year by year, through courses of increasing complexity, as well as internships and opportunities for real-world design practice. In addition, students develop important life skills that will serve them well in any setting including writing, listening, collaboration, self-management, how to make an oral presentation, as well as accountability and responsibility. To satisfy the Major, seniors are required to complete classes in Senior Design Portfolio, Methodologies of Scholarship in the Visual and Performing Arts, and a Senior Capstone project.

Transfer Students to the Graphic Design Program

For transfer applicants to Merrimack College, the transfer of studio courses and level of placement in the Graphic Design program will be determined by the Graphic Design Faculty. Students wishing to major in Graphic Design are required to submit a portfolio to the Department of Visual and Performing Arts for review.

During the portfolio review, the Graphic Design Faculty will assess the student’s studio skills, as well as the courses to be transferred toward the degree requirements. Faculty will compare the student’s level of accomplishment with the Graphic Design Program’s expectations to determine where the student is qualified for placement into the program.

Portfolios can be submitted in-person or digitally.

To submit a portfolio, or ask questions about the process, please contact Nancy Wynn, Director of the Graphic Design program, by email: wynnn@merrimack.edu

The Visual and Performing Arts Major in Theatre Arts

The major in theatre arts combines a liberal arts perspective with in-depth study of theatre in its historical and cultural contexts. At the core of the program is the belief that the best theatre artist is one who possesses both a broad knowledge of the theory and literature of the field and highly developed artistic skills. The major recognizes the importance of all aspects of theatre and offers courses and/or practical training in performance, technical theatre, design, directing, arts management playwriting, and dramaturgy. Senior Capstone experiences offer students the opportunity to create and construct significant theatre-making projects as conclusion to their theatre studies. 

After Merrimack

The Visual and Performing Arts major in Art and Art History provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the arts expected of those who work in multi-art positions, such as critics, art coordinators, program consultants or generalists teaching art history at small colleges and schools for the arts. The Visual and Performing Arts major in Graphic Design provides a professional foundation for work in graphic, web, and publishing design, as well as a foundation for creative work in fine arts. The Visual and Performing Arts major in Theatre Arts provides students with a well-rounded and broad understanding of the field of theatre studies and prepares students for graduate school or careers in theatre related professions.

Major GPA. Students must achieve a final graduation point average of 2.00 or better within any majors offered by the Visual and Performing Arts Department. The GPA for majors will be calculated as the average of all courses taken within the major.


    Bachelor of ArtsMinor

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