The Visual and Communication Arts Department (V.A.C.A.) offers majors in studio art, art education, communication, digital media and photography. These majors prepare students to pursue professional jobs in a variety of careers and to pursue graduate work in an array of programs.
Our majors prepare students to move comfortably from the studio, to the gallery, to the field and to the screen in their creative activities. Curious about the vocational possibilities for E.M.U. alums? Visit our V.A.C.A. careers page..
Majors and Minors
Art major and art education endorsement
Prepares students who will pursue professional art-related careers, independent art work and graduate work in art. The art major offers a variety of studio arts options after students finish a core curriculum.
Students take a broad group of core courses along with the foundational courses in a variety of electronic media, writing and theory courses.
Digital media major
Students focus on the intersection of the internet, digital video, audio and photography within an increasing array of delivery systems.
Photography majors build a solid framework in digital photography practice and theory. Students learn studio/field practices, study visual theory, and engage the community through documentary work and conservation photography.
- Digital Communication
- Digital Video Production
- Art, Grades PreK-12
- Journalism (add-on)
Professors Who are Mentors
V.A.C.A. professors push students to go beyond the aesthetic to consider the social and the global aspects of their work so that they can become transformers of cultural and community landscapes.
Passionate and Ethical Communication
In order to serve in this way, image-makers need more than technical competency. They need to possess a conceptual and aesthetic framework that will allow them to communicate effectively, passionately and ethically.
While intellectually rigorous, the V.A.C.A. faculty seeks to nurture a profound appreciation for the spiritual, emotive and poetic aspects of human existence. The visual arts at E.M.U. help students encounter a much bigger world that cannot always be described in logical terms.
Students explore the ethical and cultural problems inherent in mass communication and the artistic endeavor and the increasingly international thrust of communication.
Careers in Visual and Communication Arts
Careers include artist, art educator, photographer, graphic designer, video producer, web-producer, industrial designer, visual artist, web designer, video editor, journalist, photo-journalist, fine artist, interior designer, communications, art therapist, community arts activist, production craftsperson, CD-ROM developer, advertising, broadcasting, screen printer, photographer, exhibit designer, gallery director, curator, fashion designer, theater set, lighting or sound designer, illustrator, arts administrator, framer, gallery preparator and graduate study in visual art, communication or film and video. See more on our careers page.
Digital Media Major
The digital media major focuses on the intersection of the internet, digital video, audio and photography within an increasing array of delivery systems.
Eastern Mennonite University offers one of the few digital media majors at a Christian college. Our unique program emphasizes proficiency in the interrelated digital media forms of video production, digital photography, graphic design and web design. Students learn electronic field production in documentary and narrative video classes.They practice the disciplines of video editing, lighting, audio production through assignments and real-world projects.
Visual and Communication Arts Faculty at Eastern Mennonite University have deep connections to the professional world with projects that have aired on the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and ABC. Whether in person or online, guest lecturers bring expertise from the film and video world. Recent speakers have included the first female steady-cam operator, a National Geographic photographer and a Discovery Channel producer.
The E.M.U. digital media major unfolds in the context of our Christian liberal arts community, a multicultural, peace-oriented environment that values effective cross-cultural communication and passionate engagement with the world. Students work on personal projects, study visual theory, and engage the community through documentary work. E.M.U. prepares students for a range of digital media jobs from video production to web design (as well as preparation for further graduate training).
Internship opportunities abound in the E.M.U./Harrisonburg area and many students have completed internships while studying at the Washington D.C. Community Scholars’ Center. Our current students and recent graduates have had opportunities to work on real-world projects in Haiti and Kenya.
Students have access to our collection of professional HD video cameras, lighting and support equipment for video production.Students also have free access to our collection of Canon digital SLRs and lenses. The Advanced Media Lab, home to our advanced Photoshop, video editing and 2-D animation classes, features fifteen 27 inch (Intel-based) iMacs, a large HD display, a Blu-ray projector and a surround sound system. Software includes Final Cut Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 and After Effects CS5.5. Our intro Digital Media Lab features the latest Adobe CS5.5 Creative Suite and fifteen workstations (21 inch and 24 inch Intel-based iMacs) for digital photo editing and web design.
VaCa student work has received attention from national and international media. The Washington Post covered our class documentary on the Kurdish community in Harrisonburg, and the BBC ran student photos from the documentary on their Website.
About the School
An EMU education helps students to discover their purpose in life and prepare to make a difference for the common good at home and around the world. EMU’s rigorous academics emphasize one-on-one relat ... Read More