The Department of Art and Art History
Visit the official website of the Art and Art History Department.
Pomona offers majors and minors in studio art through courses ranging from traditional media like painting, drawing and photography to classes in digital imagery and art installation. Student artists have the chance to exhibit their work at senior exhibitions at the Pomona College Museum of Art, as well as at periodic shows in the Smith Campus Center student art gallery. About a quarter of Pomona students enroll in studio art classes each year
Art history majors work in a joint art history program through Pomona, Scripps and Pitzer that looks at European, North American, African, African Diaspora, Native American and Asian topics. Students may also take studio art classes at any of The Claremont Colleges, including Claremont Graduate University.
Currently under construction on the east side of campus, the new Studio Art Center is scheduled to open in fall of 2014. Designed to reflect to a more modern, integrated approach to the arts and provide space for interdisciplinary teaching, the 36,000-square-foot center will replace the venerable 100-year-old Rembrandt Hall, which will be repurposed for another use. The new building, which will more than double the space available for studio arts, will surround a central courtyard and feature studios for painting, drawing, sculpture, digital arts and photography, as well as classrooms, a gallery and cutting-edge facilities for printing, fabrication and digital output.
Pomona College Museum of Art
The fine art collections of Pomona College are housed in the Pomona College Museum of Art, located in the Montgomery Center of Art. Among its holdings—selections of which are displayed on a rotating basis—are all four of Francisco de Goya’s etching series and more than 5,000 examples of Pre-Columbian to 20th-century Native American art and artifacts.
The Museum also brings to campus a wide range of exhibits, both historical and contemporary, designed to complement the College’s curricula. Recent exhibitions have included watercolors by composer John Cage, photographs by Andy Warhol, and a cut-paper installation by Kara Walker, named one of the 100 most influential figures in the art by Time in 2007. In 2010-11, the Museum presented “It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles 1969-1973,” part of The Getty’s Pacific Time initiative focusing on postwar art in Los Angeles. The exhibition featured the work of influential artists, such as Chris Burden ’69, James Turrell ’65 and Mowry Baden ’58, who spent their formative years at Pomona. All exhibitions open with public receptions and include lectures and related programs for the College community.
Throughout the exhibition season, the Project Series, organized by Rebecca McGrew, presents Southern California artists in one-gallery exhibitions. The purpose of the series is to bring to the Pomona College campus art that is experimental; that introduces new forms, techniques, or concepts; or that may be difficult to show in other venues. During each exhibition, participating artists spent time on campus working with faculty and students in relevant disciplines.
Student Art Gallery
The Smith Campus Center student art gallery is dedicated to the display of student photography, painting, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media and electronic works. It is run independently of any department so that any student, regardless of major, may have the opportunity to display artwork.
Art After Hours
Art After Hours is a popular event that brings students together for social and art events that feature lectures, panels, workshops, music, poetry and film screenings in conjunction with museum exhibition and in partnership with student and academic groups from the five college campuses. There is often interdisciplinary participation, like aesthetically pleasing physics demonstrations or panels featuring American Studies professors. The lively gathering is held on Thursday evenings at the Museum during the academic year.
The Museum offers numerous paid internship opportunities during the summer and the academic year. Students work closely with museum staff members to research and produce exhibitions, develop programs, and on maintaining the museum’s permanent collection. Exhibitions curated by students have included “Famous for 15,” which featured Andy Warhol Polaroids and prints as well as a projection of more than 100 camera phone photos submitted by the wider Pomona community. Student interns also work with campus groups to plan events for Art After Hours.
Members of the studio art faculty are contemporary artists, whose work is regularly shown in galleries and museums, including the Los Angeles at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Their work ranges from photography and public art pieces to sculptural installations, performance, computer art and conceptual drawings.
Public Art at Pomona College
Pomona is home to several notable public art pieces, including Dividing the Light, a Skyspace by James Turrell ’65, a precisely designed architectural installation that heightens the viewer's awareness of light, sky and the activity of perception, a form for which Turrell is renowned, and two major murals in Frary Dining Hall, Prometheus (1930) by José Clemente Orozco and Genesis (1950) by Rico Lebrun.
Opportunities in Southern California
The Los Angeles area is noted for its art galleries and museums, which include the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Getty, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Norton Simon Museum and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Student trips to art museums and other Los Angeles locations are organized through the Smith Campus Center with transportation provided by the Pomona’s 25-seat Sagecoach, or as field trips through art and art history classes.