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Visual and Performing Arts


Visual and Performing Arts

Participation in the arts, through formal study and practical experiential learning, unlocks the creative potential of our students while encouraging intellectual curiosity, professional growth, and the development of an entrepreneurial spirit.

Courses offered by the Visual and Performing Arts Department - including art and art history, digital media, video, music, photography, and theatre - introduce students to the artistic traditions that are their heritage, enable them to participate in the continuation of such traditions, and promote the creative process.

The Visual and Performing Arts Major in Art and Art History

The major in art and art history gives a broad-based, and a focused, historical education in the arts. General history courses in art (i.e. painting, sculpture, architecture and related media), music, film, photography, and theatre are coupled with studio experience. Specific work is chosen, not in one discipline, but in one era or period.

Courses in art, music, film, photography, theatre and literature are taken in combination so the student develops an informed view of the arts in a given period, such as the Renaissance, the Baroque/Classic, the Romantic, the nineteenth and early twentieth century, and the Modern. A senior seminar with thesis provides the opportunity to relate in a meaningful and substantial manner to the various strands of coursework in the arts.

The Visual and Performing Arts Major in Digital Design 

The major in Digital Design provides the opportunity to use traditional media such as photography, paint, pencil and charcoal and digital media to produce printed publications, 3D animation and illustration, and web sites. The student will have a grounding in art history to make works intelligent and insightful whether producing quality graphic design, or fine art.

The Visual and Performing Arts Major in Theatre - NEW!

The Theatre Arts major bases its curriculum on a liberal arts foundation while providing students with a series of core theatre courses in various aspects of theatrical art, including history and criticism, literature, performance, directing, design, management and technical production.  The Theatre Arts major:

  • Prepares students for graduate school or professional careers in theatre related professions;
  • Provides students with practical experience in managing an arts organization;
  • Strives for high degrees of excellence and professionalism in its diverse academic and production offerings;
  • Provides group-oriented problem-solving opportunities for students that encourage research, collaboration and cooperation, while also encouraging individuals to realize the importance of self-exploration, self-discipline, and creative expression;
  • Prepares and encourages students to embrace theatrical art as an effective and necessary form of human inquiry, exploration, and critique.
  • Promotes among the local community a greater awareness and appreciation for the role, function, and value of theatre in society.


Academic Resources:


Tony, Pulitzer and Academy Award Winner John Patrick Shanley in conversation with Merrimack Theatre students and faculty.Tony, Pulitzer and Academy Award Winner John Patrick Shanley in conversation with Merrimack Theatre students and faculty.