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.
The Department of Visual Arts attracts gifted and motivated students who are eager to join a creative community that shares a common pursuit of academic and artistic excellence. The program is led by highly-qualified faculty who are committed to professional art training within the context of a Christian liberal arts university. Our faculty actively participate in local, regional and national exhibitions and continue to practice as professional designers and educators.
One of the greatest benefits of attending NNU is the personal attention and sense of community students enjoy in the Department of Art & Design. Even as we prepare students for the professional workplace to a level few universities can provide, we maintain and enjoy personal connections with our students. Throughout the year, faculty and students organize a variety of extra-curricular activities for the department, from a weekly faculty/student coffee hour to kickball tournaments and chocolate fondue parties. One of the biggest events of the year, our annual art retreat, takes place as school begins in the fall. Faculty and students leave campus to spend a weekend enjoying each other's company and building a tight-knit community in the process. The retreat rotates between the mountain town of McCall, Camp Perkins in the Sawtooth Mountains, and shorter trips to Boise for a day of museums, gallery visits, art films, and go-kart racing. There's no other department like it!
Clubs & Organizations
AIGA Student Group and NNU Art Club
Students in the Department of Art & Design benefit from affiliation with the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) through NNU's AIGA Student Group. The AIGA is the primary professional organization for graphic designers in the United States. The AIGA Student Group provides students with opportunities to make contacts in the professional community in Idaho and throughout the northwest. The student-led group, in conjunction with the NNU Art Club, a group dedicated to the visual arts, organizes and hosts on- and off-campus design-related events for NNU students including lectures by art and design professionals, portfolio reviews, discussions of copyright law, film nights, and other unique events.
NNU Art & Design students enjoy an ongoing relationship with Sprowt, a group of experienced designers dedicated to helping students prepare for the transition into the professional work environment. Sprowt members mentor NNU students, meeting formally and informally to answer questions, offer advice, critique student work, offer workshops, and even teach entire courses.
Students benefit from a wide variety of internship opportunities in the Nampa/Boise area as well as in other regional metropolitan areas. A 140-hour internship is required for all Art & Design students prior to graduation, serving as a valuable link between the academic and professional settings. Internships can be completed in the Nampa/Boise area during the academic year or in alternate locations/cities during the summer between academic years.
All NNU students have the opportunity to study abroad or take part in mission trips to satisfy NNU's Cross-Cultural requirement. During the semester prior to graduation, Art & Design students may enroll in Engaging Art & Faith, a course dedicated to leading students toward a vision of how to live out a life of faith through their creative endeavors. As part of their course of study, students are given the chance to use art and design as part of an outreach program in a foreign culture. Sites planned for mission-oriented study include Ireland, Costa Rica, and Vancouver, B.C.
The faculty of NNU's Department of Art & Design are committed to leading students to experience some of the best historic and contemporary art and design, often conducting study tours to visit museums, conferences and studios in regional cultural centers outside the Boise area including Portland and Seattle. More extensive trips have taken groups to New York City and as far as London and Paris for life-changing study tours.
NNU students have a variety of semester-long study-abroad programs available to them. One of the more popular programs among Art & Design students is the NYCAMS program, a semester-long program in New York City. Students live in the city, take classes, conduct internships and enjoy proximity to many of the world's greatest museums and cultural offerings.
Integrated Media Campaigns
As Christian artists and designers, we are committed to giving back to God the talents and abilities with which He's blessed us. One of the ways we do this while also preparing students for the realities of the workplace is through our Integrated Media Campaigns course. Throughout the course of the semester, students work in teams producing print- and web-based design work for local and regional non-profit organizations in need of high-quality marketing and design. Students utilize all the knowledge and skills developed in their marketing courses, print design courses and web design courses in the service of organizations doing God's work throughout the community and the region.
Senior Portfolio Review & Exhibitions
In the semester prior to graduation, all graphic design students are required to complete, present, and exhibit a portfolio of their graphic and illustrative work, ensuring that students are ready to embark on a professional career prior to graduation. Portfolios are reviewed and critiqued by a group of professional designers before being exhibited as part of a group exhibition featuring the work of graduating graphic design students. Studio art students are required to develop a professional-level body of work to exhibit in one of NNU's gallery spaces during the semester prior to graduation. Students can present their work as a solo exhibition or as part of a group exhibition.