Welcome to Art and Art History at Georgetown!

The Department of Art and Art History invites all students to explore the worlds of creating, interpreting, and exhibiting art, which has always stood near the heart of human culture and inquiry. Our students and faculty pursue creative work and research to illuminate art’s history and future with rigor, nuance, and imagination.

Our disciplines deeply embody Georgetown University’s dedication to creating and communicating knowledge. Art can articulate and interpret ideas about ourselves, communities, histories, beliefs, politics, and environments in ways that are exceptionally direct. Students work with objects, make things, and grapple with forms and ideas across time and geography. Visual literacy and cultural awareness are essential to informed, reflective, and effective engagement in the modern world.

The Department offers a BA in Art (Studio Practice) and in Art History, and a Master of Arts in Art and Museum Studies. Each year we welcome more than 600 students in a great variety of courses, ranging from Animation through Zen Buddhist Art. All of our classes are small enough to allow for intensive instruction and wide-ranging discussion.

Our students and faculty regularly study and work in Washington’s extraordinary museums and galleries, including our own Maria and Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery and Lucille M. and Richard F.X. Spagnuolo Gallery.

Letter from the Chair – Fall 2018

These are exciting times for the visual arts at Georgetown.

Last year, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Department, we recalled some of its younger days. Although art classes were being taught on the Hilltop as early as the 1830s, a Department of Fine Arts took shape in 1967. During the 1970s, painting courses were taught in one of Georgetown’s most beautiful spaces, Riggs Library at the crown of Healy Hall. As the Department grew and became the Department of Art, Music, and Theater, the faculty and art studios moved to the Edmund M. Walsh Memorial building, which remains our home on campus. Its largest space, originally the grand Hall of Nations at the heart of the School of Foreign Service, became the Walsh Black Box Theater after SFS moved to the ICC building. In 2003, the Lucille M. and Richard F.X. Spagnuolo Gallery became Georgetown’s first dedicated exhibition space for contemporary art by established artists and art majors. A few years later, with the opening of the new Davis Performing Arts Center, the Department of Art, Music and Theater divided (amicably!) into two new ones: the Department of Performing Arts and the Department of Art and Art History—which had also recently added a new graduate program in Art and Museum Studies.

Fall 2018 finds us on the threshold of a new era. On August 28 the President, Provost, Dean of the College, Board members, benefactors, and many colleagues, students, alumni, and friends gathered for the dedication of the Maria and Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery. Made possible by years of inspiration, vision, persistence, and wonderful generosity, the Gallery fills the Black Box with light and endless possibility for new kinds of inquiry across the University and far beyond. The towering glass vestibule at the corner of 36th and Prospect faces the city, the Potomac, and Virginia. The grand wooden doors of what had been the Hall of Nations and Black Box Theater open the Gallery inward to the Walsh lobby, which has been restored as the Nora Cooney Marra Memorial Atrium. Fittingly, the Spagnuolo Gallery was renovated last year as well, creating for the first time an integrated arts space across the entire ground floor of the Walsh Building. Exhibitions and events are already bringing students, artists, and larger communities to the space with new energy.

Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on exhibitions, programs, and more!

Al Acres
Department Chair
Wright Family Term Associate Professor in Art History