Barton College Academic Programs

Art and Design


Degrees Offered:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


  • Ceramics
  • Graphic Design
  • Painting
  • Photography


Barton College’s B.F.A in Art and Design requires an emphasis in one of four areas; Ceramics, Graphic Design, Painting, and Photography. This is a pre-professional degree leading directly to a career in the visual arts or graduate school. While studio intensive, students have opportunities to study art in the context of boarder liberal arts general education courses while focusing on expanding their personal artistic perspective within an area of their choosing. Our art and design curriculum stresses the development of basic creative-thinking methods, investigation of form, and design analysis techniques as they apply to a variety of real-world projects. Students involved in the Department are exposed to fine art and commercial/professional approaches.  They can also take advantage of experiential learning with gallery and museum management internships and study-abroad research opportunities – to cultivate graduates with a variety of skills able to navigate multiple career paths.  Students learn in small classes with professionally active faculty and in workshops conducted by accomplished artists-in-residence – exposing students to the best of what is going on in art and design today and providing valuable networking opportunities. The B.F.A. further prepares students for careers as artists and industry professionals with annual exhibitions during their junior and senior years in the Barton Art Galleries.


Invest in Your Success at Barton College

List Icon

Special Features

Barton’s art professors are working artists who exhibit regionally, nationally, and internationally; serve as professional art judges; and publish and design professionally.

Our photography program is one of only a handful of professional programs in this area of the country. We offer a commercial track if you’re preparing for employment, and a fine art track if you’re preparing for graduate school. In both cases, you’ll gain expertise by studying historical, cultural, and contemporary photographic imagery; by critiquing your own work, as well as that of your classmates; and by exploring technical solutions with individualized instruction.

In addition to learning traditional “wet” photography techniques, digital-imaging classes teach image-acquisition skills, digital manipulation and editing techniques, and aesthetics related to computer-derived artwork.

Our visual design studios stress the development of basic creative-thinking methods, investigation of form, and design analysis techniques as they apply to a variety of real world projects.

The multimedia print courses teach experimental forms of image making that utilize diverse sources, including electronic media, traditional print media, and traditional printmaking methods.

As an art student at Barton, you can also take advantage of experiential learning opportunities, gallery and museum management internships, and study-abroad research opportunities.


List Icon


The Case Art Building, a 19,000-square-foot facility, houses the Art Department and the Barton Art Galleries. Connected to the art building is a 600-square-foot exterior ceramic gas-kiln workspace. You’ll have access to the art building at night and on weekends by individualized key-card access.

Each concentration has its own instructional area and equipment:

  • The design computer lab offers PCs and Macintosh computers loaded with industry-standard software.
  • The photography darkroom has 18 enlargers, a separate lighting studio, and the capacity for teaching traditional black-and-white and color photography.
  • The ceramic area has ten electric potters’ wheels, a clay mixer, an electric kiln, and two gas kilns. Adjoining the clay studio are a small woodworking shop and welding area.
List Icon

Course Information

Coursework in the major begins with a broad-based preparatory program that combines practical skills with theory in the areas of general drawing, 2-D composition, and 3-D design. These courses develop your conceptual thinking and visualizing, and provide an understanding of the history of art and design.

With this as your foundation, you’ll then tailor courses to your individual interests. Through your coursework, you’ll learn about techniques as well as aspects of professional practice, all of which are further developed through studio-based projects and real-world learning.

Each area of concentration instills specific skills; but they all teach highly valuable and transferable skills, such as problem-solving, using various media for visual communication, breaking down large projects into manageable parts, and leading from a position of strength.

In your junior year, you’ll take a portfolio course to prepare for a required portfolio review in which you’ll show ten pieces of art that demonstrate your fundamental skills in your intended concentration as well as in drawing, 2-D design, 3-D design, and color.

List Icon

Concentrations: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Painting, Photography

The Painting concentration has a long tradition of encouraging success in developing painters. Classes emphasize skill development and creative problem solving, and stress the two most critical factors for artistic success: motivation and work ethic. Students in the program have been very successful with exhibitions, awards, and admission into graduate programs at various universities.

The Photography concentration instills personal vision and technical proficiency. Using traditional, digital, and nineteenth-century methods, you’ll develop the skills necessary to express your vision and communicate your ideas. As a senior, you’ll build a professional portfolio that demonstrates your aesthetic and technical skills and shows that you’re prepared to work in the photography industry or graduate school.

The Ceramics concentration offers a dynamic studio workshop environment where you can explore clay work as craft and fine art. Through instruction in wheel throwing and hand building, you’ll gain expertise in all-ceramic techniques and learn to approach clay as a vehicle for functional, sculptural, and conceptual expression. When you graduate, you’re prepared to work in studio pottery, teach introductory ceramics classes, and enter a graduate program.

The Graphic Design concentration blends the conceptual with the technical. Through innovative graphic design work for print, web, illustration, and book arts, you’ll master problem-solving and communication skills that lead to creative design solutions. Coursework allows you to investigate traditional media and computer imaging, as well as study the history of design and illustration, and gain exposure to other disciplines and cultures.

List Icon

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The Bessie Massengill Art Scholarship is awarded annually to a student majoring in art selected by the art department faculty.

The Triangle East Advertising and Marketing Association Scholarship is awarded annually to an upper-class student majoring in graphic design who is a resident of eastern North Carolina and who intends to be employed in a related field in eastern North Carolina.

The Rom and Marie Watson Art Scholarship is awarded to a student seeking a studio art degree. The Department of Art faculty chooses a recipient based on the artistic merit of the student’s work through the process of portfolio reviews with preference given to student participants in the Scholastic Art Awards.

The department also awards the Stuart Walston, Inc. Endowed Scholarship and the Price-Watson Annual Scholarship to qualified students.

Learn more about Our Scholarships

List Icon


Our students have interned at:

  • Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Art and Leadership Program
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • The Women’s United Soccer Association
  • Duke Press
  • Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.
  • Carolina Mudcats
  • Advanced Rehabilitation Seminars Company
  • The Arts Council of Wilson
  • Barrett’s Printing House
  • Theatre at Barton
  • Carolina Cabinet Company
  • Creative Graphics
  • Hendersonville Printing Company
  • Images Photography Inc.
  • Jerico Screen Printing
  • Jeffcoat Studios
  • Mint Museum
  • Wilson County Fair
  • Reynolda House
  • Rockets Softball, Greenville, N.C.
  • Signature Dance Company
  • Type A Design Concepts
  • Ronald L. Sowers Photography
  • Wildwood Lamps
  • Wilson Times
List Icon

Career Opportunities

In addition to work in the creative arts, an art degree may lead to careers in many applied art fields. Our alumni work as:

  • Art Directors
  • Art Teachers
  • Cartoonists
  • Ceramicists
  • Commercial Photographers
  • Graphic Artists
  • Craftspersons
  • Designers
  • Fine Art Photographers
  • Floor Covering Designers
  • Furniture Designers
  • Gallery Directors
  • Illustrators
  • Industrial Designers
  • Painters
  • Photo Retouchers
  • Photofinisher Specialists
  • Photography Teachers
  • Photojournalists
  • Portrait Painters
  • Private Art Instructors
  • Public Relations Directors
  • Sculptors
  • Signage Designers
  • Stage Designers
  • Wood Crafters

Our majors also continue their education in graduate programs throughout the Southeast. Recent graduates have been accepted to:

  • George Mason University
  • Boston University
  • East Carolina University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Auburn University
  • University of Georgia – Lamar Dodd School of Art
  • University of Maryland
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • North Carolina State University
  • Radford University
  • University of Kentucky
List Icon

Clubs and Organizations

The Friends of Visual Arts organizes lectures and exhibitions and brings to Barton College visiting artists of regional, national, and international status.

Apply to Barton College Today

Get Started