At Trinity Western University, we create culture.
Creativity drives culture. We are a community of professional artists, designers, scholars, and students who look at visual ways of creating. Within a variety of interdisciplinary historical, critical, and theoretical contexts, we explore how visual art and design practices can be used to create and critique culture. Our program empowers students to become creative leaders who are able to adapt and innovate in our rapidly changing world.
Who We Are
The focus of our program is on supporting interdisciplinary thinking, advancing inquiry-based research, cultivating one-on-one mentorship, re-envisioning social engagement, and equipping for creative, critical, and innovative thinking.
We live in a time where change seems to have become the only constant. Those in creative professions will increasingly become the most well-equipped to quickly adapt and innovate as new changes and ways of thinking arise. Being a creative professional (such as an artist or designer) is one of the most direct and active ways you can engage with the world. It cultivates curiosity, invites innovation, and inspires change.
To be an artist is to actively question, to learn how to struggle and overcome, and to rethink and reframe how we think about the world’s greatest problems. To be a designer is to seek out direct creative solutions to these problems, especially the ones the rest of the world has given up on. Those equipped with tools from both of these mindsets are uniquely positioned to be on the front lines of culture, having both the capacity to reveal new insights and address them directly.
This is a small program where you won’t get lost in the crowd; where you can thrive in a community and make a real difference. Our program emphasizes academic rigour and cultural relevance while encouraging personal wellness and spiritual vitality. Whatever your background, this is a program where you can bring your full self to the table.
First Year: Visual Foundations
Second Year: Skills Mastery
Third Year: Integration of Theory and Practice
Fourth Year: Graduate Art Exhibition
The history and theory of art understand visual practices to be vital, critical, creative engagements with social, artistic, economic, and political conditions, which give voice to social aspirations, spiritual beliefs, philosophical ideas, the formation and consolidation of individual and collective identities, and the underlying fears of any given society. Art history + theory investigates the creation and interpretation of art, and how these meanings are dynamic and historically situated.
Our design courses merge innovative creative thinking with robust technical proficiency. By deeply integrating creative problem-solving approaches (such as Design Thinking and Human-Centered Design) into each of our design courses, our students are empowered to tackle multifaceted real-world design projects. Our design courses cultivate rich interdisciplinary connections by engaging empathy, collaboration, diverse perspectives, and rigorous design processes. In our courses, students develop professional expertise with current Adobe design software while gaining experience in industry-leading design processes, typography, print, UI/UX design, brand identity, image manipulation, digital illustration, and professional career development. We place special emphasis on helping our students develop the versatility to quickly adapt, navigate, and respond to our constantly changing world and culture.
Students experience historical, contemporary and experimental art practices in drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, intermedia and sculpture as increasingly interdisciplinary, active, critical, collaborative practices. Visual intelligence is developed through formal, perceptual, imaginative and critical challenges that prepare students for an informed engagement with our predominantly visual culture. Courses combine material practices with cultural theory, deepening aesthetic, critical, ethical, and theological insight and outcomes. Through classroom lectures, discussion, gallery visits, research, and through actively engaging with their chosen visual scholarship and material practices, students grow in their proficiency and knowledge of art while deepening their understanding of the world around them and their place within it.
Honours Thesis Project
The Honours Program allows Art + Design majors to demonstrate exceptional commitment to their practice by conducting an in-depth arts-based or scholarly thesis project under the mentorship of a faculty member. The thesis project can take the form of a solo exhibition, a substantial research paper in art history or art education, or a major design project. Envisioned as a capstone experience, it is a means by which the student will deepen and extend their practice to increasingly high levels. The Honours Program mentors students into a deeper investment into their practice.
As a student of Art + Design at TWU, you will receive one-on-one mentorship within a supportive and challenging creative community. You will be encouraged to take risks, think critically, and explore intersections between faith and art. Grounded within a liberal arts core, this program offers visual foundations, digital design, art history, theory, and studio practices such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and intermedia installations.
Exhibitions on and off-campus, including solo exhibitions for Honours students
Studio classrooms, digital design lab, and dedicated senior studio space
Practicum opportunities and campus media positions
Major, minor, concentration, and honours options
Travel studies to London and Paris
Instructors who are exhibiting and publishing professionals, exceptional educators, and committed Christians
Small class sizes and one-on-one mentoring
Dedicated on-campus gallery featuring work from students, faculty, alumni, and visiting artists
What We Offer
Degrees & Certificates
Practicums & Internships
TWU’s Art + Design alumni have been accepted into prestigious graduate programs across North America and around the world. Many graduates have gone directly into art and design careers, flourishing in diverse contexts such as art history, education, architecture, graphic design, marketing, faith-based ministries, and gallery administration.
This student art group provides leadership experience and builds community among the artists at TWU.
Interdisciplinary Travel Studies
In alternate years SAMC offers an interdisciplinary travel study course to London and Paris. Students are encouraged to think critically and reflectively about the gifts of human creativity as expressed in the visual arts, theatre, dance and music. On-site lectures/discussions, visits to art galleries and museums, and attendance at a number of concerts and plays challenge students to deeply engage with the historical, religious, and societal backgrounds of the work. Through this lens, students explore the role of the arts in both illuminating and enriching their lives.
The department provides opportunities and encourages students to exhibit their work on and off-campus. Each year-end Senior Studio exhibition features work from graduating Art + Design majors. Students are involved in every aspect of the show from the making of the artwork to the business side of exhibitions, such as publicity, funding, and event planning.
Students can work alongside practicing professionals at various sites such as design studios, visual art studios, museums, galleries, or community arts organizations gaining invaluable experience. SAMC students have benefited from placements at the Reach Gallery Museum, Good Marketers Group, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Contemporary Art Gallery. We have also partnered with various lower mainland artists, designers, art therapists, and community organizations. Students may also choose to work on one of several on-campus publications for their practicum credits, providing them with the valuable experience of working in a fast-paced interdisciplinary team setting.
Leadership opportunities within the department include paid TA positions such as studio, community, and gallery assistants. Since full-time faculty studios are on campus, students can witness faculty professional practices and take advantage of opportunities to assist or collaborate on projects.