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Art and Art History

Be the brushstroke that completes the big picture

Our students understand the significance and impact of design, the bearing art has on the human experience, and the influence art has on social consciousness. 

Bring us your diverse interests, and we will give you freedom to create and the critical skills to engage with the world around you. In the Department of Art and Art History, students don’t just gain a greater appreciation for art and creation; they expand their worlds through connections they make in and beyond the College gates.  

Our department offers two learning tracks: studio art and art history. Studio students learn painting, drawing, graphic design, sculpture, video, digital photography and more while our students of art history learn how to use visual material in the analysis of society, economics, politics, and religion.

Make it dynamic. Make it relevant. Make it art. 

Chicago: A Cultural Hub

We use the world-class museums and galleries of Chicago to extend our classroom experiences for teaching and original research. Our location gives us unique access to outstanding cultural institutions of all kinds, including a very special partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago and some amazing internship opportunities.  As Elin Alexander ’15  said, “If you learn to understand what Chicago has to offer and take advantage of it while in college, it greatly helps you to adapt after college. This can become your most beneficial tool to attaining a jump on a successful professional life after college.” 

professor and student with book

Close Relationships with Active Faculty

The faculty in the department are all very active in their respective fields, bringing relevant expertise to the classroom that resonates in the contemporary world. Professors also regularly leverage their own professional contacts and experiences to provide students with career advancing opportunities. Additionally, small class sizes ensure that professors get to know  students, helping them develop skills, foster connections, and launch careers.

girl looking at artwork

Interdisciplinary Engagement

We empower our students to carry their creativity beyond the studio and into science labs, community discussions, and social engagement. We encourage them to bring outside interests to their work to produce art that confrontissues pressing society and give them the ability to work in a variety of disciplines rather than confining themselves to one. We regularly partner with other disciplines at the College, such as computer science, digital media design, entrepreneurship and innovation, and museum studies to strengthen career options. 

Why Study Art?

The world is made of more than figures and data.  Art is alive in everything. Students who engage with art in their studies gain the ability to parse out meaning and connections in a wide variety of situations while also honing their creative problem solving skills. Art reminds us of the intrinsic connections between humans and the world we live in. 

In today's dynamic world, art is pivotal to experiences on and offline. Our program gives students a broad array of skills that they can take with them to careers in interdisciplinary fields. 

Art at Lake Forest College: We help you Make It

Design. Creation. Analysis. Synthesis. We help you leverage your creativity and apply it to all areas of life. Read on about how you can tailor your experience to help fulfill your career aspirations and educational needs.

The Studio Art track

Studio Art

Studies in studio arts provide students with a wide gamut of professional fields. We currently live in an increasingly visual world; our department prepares students for the diverse opportunities of today's market. In a rapidly changing world, many former students find that the creative arts remain relevant and can lead to a dynamic and rewarding life. Digital publishing and content is in high demand, public art and installations are making vibrant impacts and improving quality of life in many communities. Our digital media courses and our materials fabrication courses prepare students for such work. 

Students pursuing the studio art track hone various studio skills:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Graphic design
  • Installation art 

These skills help students explore various mediums while also offering the opportunity to enagage with challenging ideas and critical thinking that will nourish learning even beyond life at the College. 

The Art History track

Art History

Our art history majors are extremely well placed and sought after in the museum studies field. The strength of our liberal arts education coupled with exceptional writing skills and abilities have placed our students in Museums and Art Centers, Publishing, Non-Profit Sector work, and many multidisciplinary job opportunities.  

Art and Art History provide essential skills in critical writing, seeing, and communication that are more important in today's world of virulent imagery than ever before. We train students with a critical eye, equipping them with the ability to read and visually analyze the world around them and make consequential inferences and conclusions. These skills are increasingly sought after in many industries and professions, giving Art and Art History students an edge in increasingly competitive job markets beyond the fine and performing arts.

Our proximity to Chicago provides access to countless career-changing internship opportunities

Our proximity to Chicago grants our students access to world-class museums and art institutions, providing ample opportunity for the in-person research and study of global histories of art and visual culture. Students come into close contact with an expansive array of art and material culture to learn about art and visual culture in the broadest sense, drawing on diverse collections from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Field Museum to the latest trends and exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. At the same time, drawing on the college's own collections, faculty, and visiting artists and scholars, students learn directly from artworks and leading experts in small, intimate class settings, allowing for hands-on learning within the focused collegial setting of the historic Durand Art Institute.

Our students have interned at the following organizations:

  • Art Institute of Chicago 
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Field Museum of Chicago
  • CDW Merchants
  • Evanston Arts Center
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation
  • Illinois Arts Council
  • Leslie Hindman Auctioneers
  • Mongerson Gallery
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  • Mana Contemporary

Internships open doors to tangible careers. 

We provide access to facilities that enable students to pursue their passions

We provide access to studio spaces, labs, and other art-centric settings that allow students to put their interests and creativity at the center of their studies. 

  • Light-filled studios in historic Durand Art Institute
  • State-of-the-art computer lab
  • Large format digital printers
  • Sonnenschein Gallery professional exhibitions
  • Deerpath student art gallery
  • Newly renovated curation facilities provide a special study space that allows students a place to view the College’s extensive 1,200-piece art collection
Our faculty are passionate teachers and successful, dedicated artists

Our studio art faculty are not only passionate teachers, but also successful working artists. Art history professors are experts in their fields, published by the top academic and commercial presses.  We are a department committed to critical thinking and creative problem solving at all levels.

Our faculty's commitment to their art enables them to provide the best education to students. Professors not only teach art, but share their passions for the discipline with students. Faculty expertise in arts writing and criticism ensures currency. Professors in the art department regularly publish in leading venues of contemporary art criticism. 

Students foster close relationships with faculty who are committed to art and education, laying the foundation for networking connections and exciting careers.  

With the web and social media, everything is becoming much more visual in how we communicate and convey ideas. I interwove a Digital Media Design minor with the Studio Art major to have the best chances of using my art skills in a business setting.
Elin Alexander
I think students interested in art history have much to gain from interacting with both artwork and art history in diverse ways. For instance, regular trips into Chicago for this purpose stimulated my writing and research—these firsthand encounters with art objects and figures in the Chicago art scene clarified my questions about various art issues and their stakes.
Kim Bobier

Fine Arts at Lake Forest College

At Lake Forest College, we understand that creativity is the foundation for innovation. We give our students tools and skills they can bring to their lives beyond graduation to push normative boundaries, encourage critical thought, and express their place in the wide world around them. Our fine arts programs prepare students for meaningful careers. 

Related Programs

Contact Us

Tracy Taylor
Associate Professor of Art
Chair of Art and Art History
Durand Art Institute 205
847-735-5190
ttaylor@chenhuitours.com

Karla Finley
Department Assistant
Durand Art Institue 207
847-735-5181
finley@chenhuitours.com

Rebecca Goldberg
Durand Art Institute 303
Gallery Director
847-735-5194
goldberg@chenhuitours.com