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the art department offers majors or correlates in art history and studio art, as well as a track in architecture. enriched by a comprehensive college art museum, both majors culminate in a one-semester senior thesis or independent studio project.
the art history program offers courses that encompass topics and periods ranging from the arts of the ancient world to those of asia, africa, early modern europe, and contemporary art in a global environment. it provides students with knowledge of significant works of art, and architecture and their historical developments.
the studio program offers classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and video. it introduces the practices of the artist and the creative process by emphasizing ways of seeing and conceptualizing the processes entailed in making art.
the frances lehman loeb art center
vassar was the first college or university in the country to include an art museum as part of its original plan. called “a symphony of architecture” by the new york times, the frances lehman loeb art center is home to one of the finest teaching collections in the nation.
situated between the north atrium and the retreat cafeteria, the james w. palmer iii gallery is at the heart of the college center. serving as an exhibition space for artwork created within and beyond the vassar community.
archives and special collections
the catherine pelton durrell ’25 archives and special collections library is the principal repository of the college's noteworthy collections of rare books, manuscripts, archival records of vassar college, and other special materials.
creative arts across disciplines
caad is an experimental laboratory for trying out new models of research, pedagogy, and practice, that foreground critical making and doing as complementary activities to critical thinking. caad programming is loosely organized around the senses, with 2014-15’s theme of “vision,” 2015-16’s theme of “sound,” and 2016-17’s theme of “touch.”
the collaboratory is a retrofitted art trailer used for site-specific performance or installation, gallery-style project display, film screening, and all manner of creative workshops.
the dance department offers a range of courses in movement, ballet, modern dance, jazz, and choreography. the vassar repertory dance theatre, a performing company of ballet, modern, and jazz dancers, is a credited course offering experienced dance students opportunities to perform in a variety of professional repertory as well as present their own choreography in the dance theater and off campus.
the drama department balances the practice of theater-making with the study of theater history, theory, and dramatic literatures. vassar’s study of theater is multidisciplinary and requires students to engage politics, social sciences, and philosophy, as well as other art forms.
the film department is international in scope, stressing a diverse canon ranging from silent films to television to webisodes. as film majors, students are grounded in film history and theory and then take intensive courses in documentary and narrative production in 16mm and digital, as well as screenwriting for shorts or feature films.
music occupies a place of prominence at vassar in its curriculum, faculty, student activities, and facilities. the department of music offers an extensive program encompassing opportunities for majors and non-majors to explore performance, composition, history, and theory in depth.
since 1985, vassar and new york stage and film have been proud partners in the powerhouse season, a unique collaboration between two world-class organizations. the season is known for being the springboard for new stories that go on to theaters across the country and around the world. for six weeks every summer the powerhouse season brings fully-produced plays, musical workshops, and readings of works-in-progress to the college campus. in all, more than 200 professional artists come to powerhouse each season and bring to life 20-25 new works. simultaneously, the powerhouse theater training program is in session, giving aspiring theater professionals a chance to immerse themselves in acting, directing, and playwriting. the program’s training company also offers free to the public performances throughout the season.