Department of Visual Arts


No matter where we look, we encounter objects that were crafted through the vision of artists and designers. NNU’s Art degree with emphasis in design, art, or art education prepares students to be creative, insightful, and morally responsible makers of our visual world. Our courses are designed to train students in a wide range of technical skills, develop their ability to make aesthetic judgments, and foster an appreciation for the art forms in everyday life. Ultimately, students graduate with the practical tools and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed as practicing artists, designers, and educators or in further academic study.


Mike Bartlett (Department Chair), Jacob Amundson, Amy Gilles, Paul Kinsman, Jamie Tucker

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Visual Arts graduates will be able to create and present high-quality, culturally relevant artworks in their area of concentration.
  2. Visual Arts graduates will be able to demonstrate technical competencies relevant to their medium to create, produce, and distribute visual messages.
  3. Visual Arts graduates will be able to communicate insightfully and coherently about their own work and the work of others.
  4. Visual Arts graduates will be able to identify and synthesize historical and contemporary movements and trends in art, design, and/or film as they relate to their own work.

Degrees Offered

The Bachelor of Arts degree in art is the professional undergraduate degree desired by serious students intent on pursuing careers or advanced degrees in the visual arts. The B.A. in art is designed to give students flexibility by letting them choose an area of emphasis after completing a series of core courses. Students choose the emphasis that is best suited to their academic interests and career goals.

Degrees and Certificates


ARDE1020: 2D Design

Credits 3

A foundations course designed to promote an understanding of and appreciation for the various technical and aesthetic qualities fundamental to the visual arts. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE1040: Drawing 1

Credits 3

An exploration of drawing with a foundation in observational studies. Throughout the course a broad range of drawing materials and applications will be introduced. Includes lecture and discussion on the history of drawing and the nature of drawing in contemporary art. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2010: 3D Design

Credits 3

An introductory studio experience, this course examines both technical and aesthetic relationships specific to three-dimensional forms as well as creative problem-solving through manipulation of various media and techniques. This course also emphasizes tool usage and studio safety. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2020: Survey of Visual Art

Credits 3
An introduction to the stylistic characteristics and cultural context of important artistic movements in art history. Students will have the opportunity to challenge their pre-conceptions of what “good” art is, think critically about how they approach looking at a piece of artwork, and develop relevant vocabulary for discussing visual art. Every student who takes this course should leave with a greater appreciation for the ways that our contemporary society is built upon the foundation of art and culture from the past and have the tools and confidence to engage with that culture. This course is designed specifically for the non-art major.

ARDE2050: Ceramics 1

Credits 3

A studio-based course designed to introduce students to the various basic forming, decorating, glazing, and firing techniques used in the medium of clay. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2070: Figure Studies

Credits 3

Coursework will be based on observation of the live model and will be carried out as an exploration in various traditional and non-traditional 2D media and methods for representing the figure. Offered alternate years. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2280: Illustration 1: Visual Voice

Credits 3

An introductory course in illustration with an emphasis on developing conceptual skills, individual expression, and technical expertise in a variety of media. Students will focus on the process of taking a project from thumbnails and roughs, through to finished art. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2350: Graphic Design 1: Introduction to Visual Communication

Credits 3

An introduction to graphic design with emphasis on exploring the roles and responsibilities of design in contemporary culture. Studio projects will focus on graphic problem-solving through the use of symbols, type, and imagery, with additional emphasis on the exploration of design applications, techniques, issues, and media fundamental to the graphic design profession.

ARDE2360: Graphic Design 2: Typography

Credits 3
An exploration of typography as a vehicle for expressive communication. Visual hierarchy, principles of contrast, verbal messages, and the consideration of communication models will all be emphasized.

ARDE2410: Painting 1

Credits 3

An introduction to the fundamentals of painting. This course is designed to develop the student's ability to accurately translate color and effectively organize pictorial space and compositional ideas. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2430: Introduction to Computer Graphics

Credits 3

An introductory digital design course emphasizing industry standard drawing, photo editing and layout computer applications, especially the Adobe Creative Suite. Students will gain foundational technical skills that are applied through relevant projects. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE2760: Photography 1

Credits 3

An introductory course in the fundamentals of black and white photography and the medium as a means of visual expression. Students will learn 35mm camera operation, film developing and darkroom printing. Basic design principles are reinforced through assignments. Students should have a 35mm SLR camera. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3010: Sculpture 1

Credits 3

Intermediate studio experience with emphasis upon development and refinement of practical and theoretical concerns related to three-dimensional artwork. Projects in this course will include various additive, reductive, and constructive procedures, as well as historical and contemporary sculptural issues. Offered alternate years. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3050: Ceramics 2

Credits 3

Further exploration, development, and refinement of individual projects in the medium of clay. This course is designed to explore both traditional vessel and sculptural ceramic forms. Contemporary issues as well as the use of other media along with clay are explored. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3060: Printmaking

Credits 3

An introduction to the processes and history of printmaking with an emphasis on screen printing for artistic and commercial purposes. Processes may include screen printing and block printing techniques. Offered alternate years. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3070: Drawing 2

Credits 3

A continued exploration of drawing processes, materials and methods of representation. Expanding upon the foundation established in Drawing 1, less conventional materials and processes will be introduced. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the student's individual visual vocabulary. Offered alternate years. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3080: Introduction to Bookmaking and Letterpress

Credits 3

Students will explore a variety of book structures as well as an introduction to letterpress printing. Students will learn to hand set type in the letterpress studio. Book forms that may be explored are folded, pop-up, soft and hard cover structures. A variety of sewing techniques will be included. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3250: Art History 1

Credits 3

Survey of visual art and architecture from its prehistoric origins through the Gothic period. Offered alternate years.

ARDE3280: Illustration 2: Visual Story Book

Credits 3
A continuation of illustrative approaches and techniques with emphasis in visual journalism, visual narrative, and portfolio development. Students will create a series of images with a unifying theme or narrative for exhibition and portfolio use. Additional instruction will be given on the business of illustration and potential career paths.

ARDE3330: Teaching Art in K-8 Schools

Credits 3

Introduces elementary education majors to theoretical and practical experiences necessary for incorporating a discipline-based art education program into the elementary school curriculum. This course includes a 10-hour field experience. (See EDUC3330)

ARDE3340: Design History: Industrial Revolution to Contemporary Design

Credits 3
An examination of the history, process and practice of design from the middle of the 18th century to the new millennium. Objects, designers, history and culture which led to the birth and development of the design profession will be addressed, along with design's influences in art, architecture, science and industry.

ARDE3360: Graphic Design 3: Advanced Practice

Credits 3

Advanced applications of graphic design including multifaceted communication problems, professional-level assignments and critical analysis of various historic and contemporary graphic forms. Emphasis will also be placed on the development of professional production techniques. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3410: Painting 2

Credits 3

A continuing exploration of painting including more contemporary materials and processes. Historical and contemporary approaches will be analyzed. Emphasis on the individualization of each student's visual vocabulary and their understanding of contemporary issues in painting. Offered alternate years. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3430: Digital Photography

Credits 3

Students will explore digital imaging techniques and applications of acquiring, manipulating and outputting digitized photographic images using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Students should have a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera for this course. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3440: Introduction to Web Design

Credits 3

Introductory experiences in the creation and production of web-based graphic forms through the use of HTML, CSS, and industry-standard software applications including Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Students will learn the basics of setting up a website from start to finish, including buying a domain name, signing up for a hosting service, and creating a website on WordPress. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3500: Studio Practice and Critique

Credits 3
Cross-emphasis studio course structured to develop professional studio practice through rigorous critique, individuated expression, and criticality regarding relevant issues in contemporary art production. Course normally taken in the junior year.

ARDE3530: Teaching Art in Secondary Schools

Credits 3

An examination of pragmatic techniques and philosophical approaches necessary to design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive discipline-based art education program at the secondary school level. Additionally, both historical and contemporary art education issues are examined, discussed, and evaluated. Field experience: 20-40 hours. (See EDUC3530.)

ARDE3730: Advanced Typography

Credits 3

An advanced exploration of typography as a vehicle for expressive communication, especially as it relates to the online and digital environment. Students will explore advanced typographic concepts such as learning to design custom typefaces using font generation software, developing type in motion (eg. film and digital application title sequences), and developing typography for user-centered interactive experiences (eg. websites, kiosks, digital apps). Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3750: Art History 2

Credits 3
Survey of visual art and architecture from the Renaissance through the 20th century. Offered alternate years.

ARDE3760: Photography 2

Credits 3

Introduction to alternative photographic processes and medium format cameras. Skills learned in Photography 1 are applied with more advanced opportunities for self-expression and conceptualization. Students will gain a working knowledge of the history of photography. Topics may include: cyanotype, VanDyke brown, Fuji film, digital negatives, handmade pinhole cameras, encaustic, liquid emulsion, and bookbinding. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3950: Modern and Contemporary Art History

Credits 3

The history of visual art from Impressionism in the 19th century to contemporary art in the 21st century, including a survey of art criticism and theory. Focused on the development of modern and contemporary art and its relationship to experience as a defining factor, this course is an exploration of the impact and implications for current art production and reception. Exposure to contemporary art through field trips to galleries and museums. Offered every spring semester. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE3960: Art and Architecture of Europe

Credits 3

An integrated approach to art history, exploring visual art, design, and architectural history across the ages. Focus will be on art objects which can be seen and experienced in Europe, and the relationship between those objects and the culture and time period in which each was created. Traditional coursework will be followed by an immersive experience in Europe, seeing and engaging with the art objects firsthand. Typical locations include London, Paris, Florence and Rome. Course is only open to those who have chosen to participate in the trip to Europe, and have made the corresponding payments. Fulfills a General Education Cultural Experience (CE) requirement, and a General Education Art History elective. Fee: Cost of Europe trip, to be paid separately. 

ARDE4030: Sculptural Installation

Credits 3

This course is designed for junior and senior art majors. The purpose of this course is to explore both traditional and non-traditional art media in site-specific and installation formats. Offered alternate years. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE4360: Graphic Design 4: Portfolio Preparation

Credits 3

Advanced design course emphasizing the development of a working portfolio and other self-promotional materials. Additional projects may include books, CD jackets, packaging, logotypes, and corporate identity campaigns. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE4440: Advanced Web Design

Credits 3

Advanced web design course with emphasis on the construction of dynamic commercial websites with additional consideration of theories of interactivity, animation, user experience, and user interface design on the web. Course will also focus on the development of technical skills using industry-standard applications including Dreamweaver, Photoshop and WordPress. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE4500: Advanced Studio Practice and Critique

Credits 3

Cross-emphasis studio course structured to develop professional studio practice through rigorous critique, individuated expression, and criticality regarding relevant issues in contemporary art production. Course normally taken in the senior year.

ARDE4540: Integrated Media Campaigns

Credits 3
This course will require the development of broad-based media campaigns utilizing a variety of print, digital, and social media. The development of dynamic and appropriate visual systems and implementation of those systems toward a specific market audience will be emphasized. Projects may include real-world campaigns for local and regional institutions. May be repeated for credit.

ARDE4870: Senior Exhibition

Credits 3

A course in professional practices for the studio artist and designer. Students will learn the practical skills necessary to promote, design and carry out an exhibition or portfolio presentation of their work culminating in a solo or group exhibition in the Friesen Galleries. Fee: Additional fee required.

ARDE4950: Art Capstone: Engaging Art and Faith

Credits 3
A senior-level capstone experience in which students concentrate on class readings that engage their faith perspective with their art and design practice. The nature of the fine arts disciplines lends itself to servant leadership, therefore servanthood through the visual arts will be a component in this course. Course will include discussions, writings and projects that engage the campus and/or local community through service.

ARDE4960: Internship

Credits 3
Course designed to give students hands-on working experience in the professional art and design world. A minimum of 140 hours required. This is a pass/fail course.

DMDA2250: Introduction to Screenwriting

Credits 3

A survey of the process, forms, and techniques for writing screenplays for video and film production. This includes fiction and non-fiction processes for video content, short films, documentaries, and feature films. Course includes lecture, scriptwriting, exercises, labs, and analysis and critique of student work.

DMDA2260: Video Production 1

Credits 3

An introduction to the processes involved in video production and time-based media. Includes the technical and creative aspects of producing, directing, camera, lighting, sound, editing, graphics, and basic engineering for digital production. Course includes traditional lecture, lab exercises, and individual and group video projects. Fee: Additional fee required.

DMDA2280: Audio Production

Credits 3

A lab course involving student production of voice, music, and sound effects projects. Includes a study of microphone selection and placement, signal processing and shaping, and field and studio recording as they specifically relate to video production and post production. Fee: Additional fee required.

DMDA3030: Film Theory and Criticism

Credits 3

Survey of narrative and documentary motion pictures, from Edison and Lumiere to the present. Course covers the structural and aesthetic trends of motion pictures through the viewing and analysis of selected films. Fee: Additional fee required.

DMDA3260: Introduction to Animation

Credits 3

An introduction to the processes and products of animation and motion graphics. Experiments in stop motion and 'cell' animation lead to the integration of animation software and motion graphics. Fee: Additional fee required.

DMDA3290: Video Production 2

Credits 3

A lab course designed to familiarize the student with the advanced tools and techniques of cinema production, concentrating on visual effects and post-production. Includes editing theory and an introduction to industry standard third-party software packages for graphic design and image manipulation. Fee: Additional fee required.

DMDA3360: Advanced Animation

Credits 3

A lab course designed to familiarize the student with the advanced tools and techniques of animation, concentrating on visual narrative, development of environment/atmosphere, and post-production. Fee: Additional fee required.

DMDA4970: Digital Media Capstone Project

Credits 1
A capstone experience involving a research project and/or major media production, culminating in a public exhibition, or premiere. Required of all Digital Media majors. May be repeated for credit.