Our Mission | Art

Department Foundations

Founded in 1921, a half century after formal instruction in Art began at Howard University, the Department of Art seeks to provide students with sound instruction in studio practice, history, and criticism of the Visual Arts.

Affirming that individual growth is central to the creative and intellectual development of students, the Department of Art offers a program of study that respects traditional academic requirements while considering the personal creative interests of students and their career objectives. Students are required to take liberal arts and career-oriented courses that frequently draw upon the resources of agencies, businesses, and cultural institutions of the Washington, D.C. area. Thus establishing links between the classroom and the actual world.

Our department offers quality instruction in the practice, history, and criticism of the visual arts. We strive to maintain an environment conducive to self-motivation for students with high artistic and academic potential. Our faculty members are dedicated to quality teaching, research, and creativity. They develop highly skilled and knowledgeable graduates who are prepared to compete for professional positions and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors in the arts and related fields.

Our department offers programs that lead to a range of bachelors degrees such as: a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art History or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Ceramics, Design, Electronic Studio, Painting, Photography, or Sculpture. Graduate courses in Studio Arts lead to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.

In January 2011, the Howard University Board of Trustees approved Academic Renewal recommendations that authorized the discontinuation to the Master of Arts (MA) degree in Art History and the Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising and Interior Design. Since then, we have launched a new program that provides concentrations in Fashion Design or Interior Design for scholars pursuing a BFA in Design. Aspects of the MA in Art History program have been re-positioned in a proposed graduate program in Africana and African Studies.

Mission Statement & Goals

The Department of Art meets the educational needs of students by offering exemplar instruction in the practice, history, and criticism of the visual arts and design. The Department of Art seeks to maintain an atmosphere conducive to developing skilled and knowledgeable graduates who are prepared for the twenty-first century to compete for professional positions and engage in entrepreneurial endeavors as artists, designers, fashion merchandisers, interior designers, and art historians. The Department recognizes its unique advantage and responsibility to reflect, affirm, and perpetuate the visual expression of the African American and African Diaspora experience.


  • To provide innovative professional and interdisciplinary programs that are supportive of the immediate and specific educational needs of undergraduate and graduate students in the Fine Arts and Art History;
  • To maintain its heritage of excellence in the arts and to continue be universally recognized as a comprehensive center of distinction in the Visual Arts, Design, Art History;
  • To serve as a site for leading-edge electronic, digital, and technology-infused art production and design;
  • To spearhead cultural production and scholarly interpretation of African American, African, and African Diaspora art and culture.