Whether your passion is rooted in abstract or realism, or you simply desire to share your voice through color, St. Ambrose will help you grow as a fine artist so you can achieve your professional dreams.

Art graduates work at Augustana College, Erie (Illinois) Community School District, Genesis Health, Jeff Koons Studio New York, and others.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Outstanding Student Art Facilities
  • Faculty Support and Collaboration
  • Focus on Original Voice

Kristin with student outside

student painting outside

Emma painting abstract

Our faculty excel at one-on-one interaction and guidance and apply it to everything from mixing paint to discussing your creative growth and ambition.

More Information on the Painting Concentration

What will I learn?

You will take foundation courses in drawing, design, visual narratives and art history, and specialized courses in figure drawing, professional practice, and painting.

Our integrated, liberal arts approach to art-making is very valuable and will challenge your creative growth. Oil painting, drawing, and other media will become your voice, and we help you incorporate life experience into your exploration of form and content.

Many of our students have been accepted into graduate studio art and art therapy programs, including at the University of Vermont College of Art, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Boston University, Lesley University, Mt. Mary College, and Marquette University.

What are some possible career outcomes?

Art students with a focus on painting can work as a gallery director, curator, marketing assistant, visual communications specialist, production artist, illustrator, museum educator, museum preparator, design assistant, sign painter, media designer, fine artist/craftsperson, or teach.

It is not uncommon for fine artists to work on their own terms. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016) about half of all fine artists are self-employed and the annual median wage is $48,780.

Where will I learn?

The Art Department and student art facilities are housed in the Galvin Fine Arts Center.

Our main drawing and painting studio is 1,600 square-feet of beautifully-lit open space. Graphic design classes are held in Mac computer labs (complete with the latest design software, Wacom tablets, scanners, laser printers, and a large-form inkjet printer).

Our book arts/printmaking/papermaking studio is not only unique – it is fully equipped:

  • One brand-new 34" x 60" Takach etching press
  • One 28" x 48" Sturges etching press
  • Rembrandt lithography press
  • Griffin lithography press
  • Two Chandler & Price letterpresses
  • Vandercook 325 Letterpress
  • Vacuum table for screen printing
  • Two exposure units
  • Polymer plate maker (essential for digitally-created imagery)
  • 100 drawers of lead type and 20 drawers of wood type
  • Nipping press
  • Three book presses
  • Multiple sewing frames
  • Papermaking studio: Hollander beater, paper press, and more than a dozen moulds and deckles

Galvin also features two public galleries – the Morrissey and Catich – for students to exhibit their work.

Some foundation and advanced courses are held in studios at the Figge Museum, and our students can visit the museum's collection, attend lectures, and participate in workshops for free.

Faculty and Staff

Joseph Lappie, MFA, Professor and Chair

Renee Meyer Ernst, MFA, Professor
Kristin Quinn, MFA, Professor
Christopher Reno, MFA, Clinical Asst. Professor and Director of Catich and Morrissey Galleries
Randy Richmond, Adjunct Professor and Studio Technician

What about scholarships and grants?

Scholarships are available for students who show exemplary talent in their artwork. If you have that type of creative passion, we want to talk to you about how studies at St. Ambrose can enrich your talent and help lead to several fulfilling career paths.

An Art Scholarship recognizes and rewards your special gifts and can provide important financial help for your studies. 

Click here to learn more about the Art Scholarship

What have alumni of this program done?
  • After earning her painting degree, Lauren Connolly '09 earned a master's in museum studies. Today, she is the membership coordinator at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • Emma Hubner '17 is using her undergraduate education in Painting, Art Education, and English to teach in the Pleasant Valley (Iowa) School District.
  • Beth VanDerMolen '07 is an art therapist at Loyola University Medical Center.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art with a Painting Concentration

AD-170 +Water Media (3 Credits)
AD-220 +Printmaking (3 Credits)
AD-250 +Experimental Drawing (3 Credits)
AD-270 +Painting 1 (3 Credits)
AD-300 Figure Drawing (3 Credits)
AD-370 Painting Lab (9 Credits)

Click here to read course descriptions for Art

Minors in Art

Art Minor (18 credits)

With an Art Minor, you gain an application of technical skills in a variety of mediums.

You will also learn how to explain and demonstrate the ways in which basic design principles are applied in a variety of art media, methods, and techniques to solve visual problems in unique and intriguing ways.

Take 18 credits of Art and Design (AD) courses.

Check out our other art-related major in Art History and the minor in Museum Studies.

Graphic Design Minor (18 credits)

With a Graphic Design Minor, you gain a working knowledge of basic design principles and production techniques in addition to the ability to effectively organize verbal, visual, and written information for diverse audiences.

All courses are 3 credits.

+AD 110 2D Design
+AD 140 Computers in Art
AD 210 Typography
AD 320 Digital Illustration
AD 350 Branding and Identity
AD 390 Interaction Design Lab

Design and Interactive Media Minor (18 credits)

With a Design & Interactive Media Minor, students gain an understanding of the basic principles of graphic design, working knowledge of fundamental applications and languages of computer science, and skills to develop integrative approaches to solving interactive media challenges using design and code.

All courses are 3 credits.

+AD 140 Computers in Art
+AD 180 Motion Graphics
AD 290 Interaction Design Lab
+CSCI 140 Fundamentals of Computer Science
CSCI 330 Web Programming
CSCI 360 Database Management Systems

Read course descriptions

+ satisfies general education requirement

Print and Book Minor (18 credits)

With a Print and Book Minor, you can use interdisciplinary knowledge to express the distribution of content and learn technical competency in book, paper, and print techniques, yielding a comprehensive skill set for real-world art and design.

All courses are 3 credits.

+AD 140 computers in Art
+AD 160 Print/Paper Book I
+AD 220 Printmaking
+AD 225 Papermaking
+AD 260 Bookbinding
AD 280 Visual Narratives

Read course descriptions

Arts Administration Minor (18 credits)

With an Arts Administration Minor, you gain the ability to identify and apply a breadth of business skills and concepts.

You will also learn how to effectively communicate business and organizational ideas orally, in writing and through basic visual design, as well as develop adaptability and critical thinking skills necessary to work in the arts.

All Arts Administration minors are expected to have a major in one of the following areas: Art, Art History, English, History, or Music

All courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Choose One (3 credits):
+MUSE 380 Introduction to Museum Studies 
COMM 230 Media Writing
ENGL 315 Written Business Communication

Choose Three (9 credits):
ACCT 201 Financial Accounting
COMM 240 Principles of Public Relations
COMM 251 Public Relations Techniques
MGMT 210 Principles of Management
MGMT 216 Entrepreneurship and Innovation
MKTG 209 Principles of Marketing
MGMT 320 Human Resource Management
MKTG 359 Social Media Marketing
SLS 335 Sales Principles 

Choose One (3 credits):
+AD 140 210 Computers in Art
COMM 225 Introduction to Visual Communication

Choose One (3 credits):
AH 450 Art Historical Methods and Careers
AH 490 Internship (1-4 credits)
WI-AD 310 Professional Practices
AD 410 Internship (1-3 credits)
ENGL 400 Writing Internship (1-6 credits)
THTR 399 Internship (1-5 credits)

+ Satisfies a General Education requirement
WI writing intensive

Art Therapy Minor (24 credits)

The minor in art therapy is structured for Art or Psychology majors who are interested in how creative expression can improve individuals' well-being.

Required Core:
+AD 100 Drawing
AD 215 Introduction to Art Therapy
PSYC 105 Introduction to Psychology
PSYC 215 Research Methods

Required for Art majors

PSYC 212 Life-span Development
PSYC 324 Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 342 Theories of Counseling

Choose One (3 credits):
PSYC 327 Psychology & Treatment of the Juvenile Offender
PSYC 384 Child & Adolescent Psychology

Required for Psychology majors

+AD 120 3D Design
+AD 190 Digital Photography
+AD 220 Printmaking

Choose One (3 credits):
+AD 225 Papermaking
+AD 230 Intermediate Special Topics
+AD 260 Bookbinding
+AD 270 Painting I

Meet One of Our Alumni

Our alumni and students are doing fantastic things, something that has become a hallmark of anyone associated with the Bachelor of Arts in Painting at St. Ambrose. Learn more about one member of our community:

Apply Visit Info


Joseph Lappie, MFA, Department Chair

Galvin Fine Arts Center 7
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, Iowa 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.