Art and Art History

 Art: studio student 13  illustration


The Art and Art History faculty work to nurture students’ understanding of the various arts and to develop their artistic and creative abilities, whether for their own intellectual growth or for success in an art career. Critical and technical skills are taught as well as an appreciation of art as an essential element in a fulfilling life as a vehicle for interpreting the present and the past.

Our facilities include naturally lit studios for painting and drawing classes, a state-of-the-art computer lab, as well as graphic design, jewelry, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture studios. The Department offers a range of experiences including the opportunity to view monthly shows in our own Esther Prangley Rice Gallery, where students can meet local, regional and national artists.

Peterson Hall and the Art Studio

Steven Pearson
Professor and Department Chair
(410) 857-2770

Art & Art History Online Catalog

Majors & Courses

Advanced Studio - click for gallery color theory - click for gallery design banner - click for gallery drawing banner - click for gallery painting banner - click for gallery printmaking banner - click for gallery

The undergraduate Art & Art History program prepares students for a multitude of careers. Our graduates are now working in graphic design firms, attending graduate programs in Studio Art, Digital Media, Art History, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. Many students enroll in art courses for personal enrichment and a desire for creative expression.

In addition to the Art Major and the Art History Major, the department offers two specializations:

Graphic Design
Art - Communication Dual Major





Professor and department chair, Steven PearsonProfessor and Department Chair Steven Pearson

(M.F.A., Hoffberger School of Painting, The Maryland Institute College of Art), who teaches drawing and painting, color theory, printmaking, and the Advanced Studio Series of courses, explores in his artwork the notion of memory's function and sustainability in a media saturated world. Professor Pearson exhibits his work both regionally and nationally, and regularly presents papers on contemporary painting and art pedagogy at art conferences such as SECAC (Southeastern College Art Conference) and FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education). His work on Paper series, Sketchbook Revisions, was recently featured in the Contemporary online journal Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture (Volume 6).

To view more of his work:

Listen to Steve being interviewed on WYPR's show "The Signal."

Senior Lecturer Katya DovganSenior Lecturer Katya Dovgan

(M.F.A., Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, Kyiv, Ukraine), specializes in painting and art conservation. Prior to coming to the U.S., she had worked as an artist, art teacher and art conservator all over Ukraine, in Russia and Germany. Ms. Mychajlyshyn teaches Drawing I, Figure Drawing, Oil Painting, Watercolor and Sculpture classes to both undergraduate and graduate students. Examples of her creative work and art conservation projects can be seen on the McDaniel campus.

Assistant Professor Izabel Galliera and Director of the Esther Prangley Rice GalleryAssistant Professor and Director of the Esther Prangley Rice Gallery Izabel Galliera

(Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) focuses on Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory with a particular emphasis on art in Central and Eastern Europe during and after the fall of socialism. Her research interests include socially and politically engaged art, institutional critique and theories of civil society and public spheres. She teaches: A History of Modern Art, World Contemporary Art, Socially Engaged Art, World Art and History of Western Art I and II. Dr. Galliera has peer-reviewed publications in the Journal of Curatorial Studies, ARTMargins (an MIT journal), FIELD: A Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism and anthologies such as Collaborative Now: Art in the Twenty First Century (2016) and Redefining Creativity: Multi-Layered Collaborations in Art and Art Historical Presence (forthcoming 2017). Dr. Galliera’s most recent book Socially Engaged Art after Socialism: Art and Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe has been published in summer 2016.

Assistant Professor Chloe IrlaAssistant Professor Chloe Irla

(M.F.A., Mt. Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art), a 2007 McDaniel grad, maintains an interdisciplinary studio practice grounded in both traditional and alternative approaches to painting. Her body of work produced over the last seven years has been heavily reliant on the integration of digital print and web-based media and the collection of data through self-tracking. Her current research is rooted in a years-long investigation of the color blaze orange in the context of rural and urban space and place. ​Blaze Breakers is an ongoing, multimedia project that utilizes analog and digital processes to distort, degrade and destroy the color blaze orange.

Professor Gretchen McKayProfessor Gretchen McKay

(Ph.D., University of ​Virginia), is an expert in Byzantine and Early Christian art, Medieval art and 19th-century art, who brought the “Reacting to the Past” series, which immerses students in historical events through role-playing, to McDaniel and is the author of one of the series’ games, “Modernism vs. Traditionalism: Art in Paris, 1888-89,” now in use in many colleges and universities nationwide.

Gretchen is the 2015 recipient of The Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award, the College's top teaching award.  Read more »

She is currently the Faculty Mentor to the McDaniel Green Terror football team, and her work was featured in the NCAA's Champion magazine.

Professor Susan ScottProfessor Susan Scott

(Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University), a founding member of the Chinese Architectural History Society, specializes in Asian and Islamic art, Renaissance and Baroque architecture and Spanish and Italian Baroque painting and spearheaded the establishment of the college’s Asian Studies major and minor, which she now coordinates while continuing her research in Asian art history and frequent travels, often with students, to Japan and China.

Experiences and Opportunities

Annual Awards for Students

The Wentz Most Promising Freshman Art Award:
Endowed by Harold Wentz, this award is determined by the faculty of the Department of Art and Art History. The award goes to the student that, as a freshman, shows the most promise. Submit a portfolio to be considered. The award will be given at the Spring Awards Event for underclassmen.

Outstanding Sophomore Award:
This is a $200 award (for art supplies and/or books from the school bookstore, which can be used during the junior and/or senior years of the recipient).  A 3.0 GPA in your art classes is required.  Applicants must submit a letter of intent to the Chair of the department (Dr. McKay), describing their achievements and eligibility, along with a portfolio (if they are Studio Art students).  This award is funded annually by Professor Wasyl Palijczuk, who is retired from the department.  The award will be given at the Spring Awards Event for underclassmen.

The Wasyl Palijczuk Art Award:
Open to juniors who are Art majors. This award is given to an outstanding Art major currently completing their junior year. Please submit a portfolio. This award is funded annually by Professor Wasyl Palijczuk, who is retired from the department. The award will be given at the Spring Awards Event for underclassmen.

The M. Louise Shipley Art Award for Excellence:
This prestigious award was initiated in 1974 by Professor Wasyl Palijczuk to recognize the many years of service by M. Louise Shipley, as a teacher and department head. The purpose of the award is to recognize the outstanding art student of the year and encourage others to strive for excellence in art. The award is in the amount of $250 cash. This award will be given at the Baccalaureate and Senior Honors Convocation in May.

Student Exhibition Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to exhibit their work annually in the colleges beautiful Esther Prangley Rice Gallery in Peterson Hall. Every year the department hosts the following student exhibitions:

Katherine E. Wentz Juried Undergraduate Exhibition
The Gallery Director invites nationally recognized Artists to select work from student submissions to be exhibited in the show. Inclusion is competitive and monetary awards are distributed for Best in Show, First, Second, and Third Place, as well as a Foundations Award. 

Departmental Honors Exhibition
Students that have been approved to pursue a departmental honors project with the supervision of a departmental faculty member exhibit their honors project work in the Esther Prangley Rice Gallery. This is an opportunity for students to showcase a sustained body of work they have researched and developed over a period of time.

Requirements for Departmental Honors (awarded at the graduation ceremony):

  1. Completion of one of the academic tracks within the Department of Art and Art History with a 3.5 GPA for all art courses and a 3.0 GPA in the student’s total record at McDaniel College.
  2. The completion of a 4-credit special studies project in either Studio Art or Art History. The grade for this project should be an A. Candidates with projects in Art History are expected to present a public lecture outlining the result of their research.
  3. The submission of a written resume and statement of your eligibility for departmental honors.
  4. Recommendation by one of the faculty members in the department. All requirements for departmental honors are to be completed by March 1 of the senior year. (Most projects are discussed in early fall of the senior year, in order to be completed by March 1).


Senior Capstone Exhibition
All Seniors get the opportunity to exhibit the work they have been pursuing in their Junior and Senior years that shows a sustained body of creative research.

Visiting Lecture Series
Twice a semester students have the opportunity to hear emerging and mid-career, nationally and internationally recognized artists, speak about their work and the trajectory of their careers. Below is a list of past speakers for the lecture series.



Art & Art History majors may participate in internships in Graphic Design, Studio, and Art History. Field trips to galleries in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and New York City broaden the horizons of students. Opportunities for further travel exist in January Term art tours of Europe and programs for study abroad.

McDaniel has two buildings dedicated to the Art & Art History program, Peterson Hall and The Studio. Peterson Hall is where courses are taught in art history, graphic design, computer graphics, photography and design classes as well as faculty offices. The Rice Gallery is located on the upper floor. The Studio is the home for students taking courses in painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and drawing. Its skylit spaces and good ventilation provides an excellent space for these media.

Study Abroad

The Art & Art History Department has affiliations with two Art focused study abroad programs:

Ars Nova - Arts Club

The student arts club, Ars Nova, provides a forum to view and critique work, discuss and share ideas, organize student exhibitions, and provide community service. Completion or enrollment in at least one studio or art history course qualifies students for membership.

Art Honor Society

Eikon TexNH E’Ekphrasis is a McDaniel College-only honor society that promotes excellence in the field of art history, and seeks to foster an environment suitable for further research, study, and critique of works of art. Minimum requirements for membership include completion of 12 semester hours of art history, rank in the top 35% of the class, average GPA in Art History courses of 3.5, and overall GPA of 3.0.

Recent student–faculty research collaboration

Student Professor Topic
Caitlin Bennett Dr. Susan Scott Vincent van Gogh and the East: Japanese Woodblock Prints and Buddhism
Nicolas Reed Jarboe Dr. Susan Scott The Wonders of Seasons, The Glory of Weather, and the Whimsicality of the Sun and Moon in the Woodblock Prints of Utagawa Hiroshige

After McDaniel

Our students have gone on to graduate programs in Painting, Sculpture, New Media, Inter-media and Digital Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Exhibition Design, Curatorial Practices, Art Criticism, and Art Therapy, and have gone on to work as Independent Artists, Children’s book Authors and Illustrators, Art Therapists, Art Educators, Art Professors, Graphic Designers, Art Writers, Museum Curators, Appraisal Coordinators at Auction Houses, and Art Handlers.

Recent Art & At History graduates have pursued advanced degrees at the following colleges and universities:

  • American University
  • Corcoran College of Art and Design
  • George Washington University (Washington, D.C.)
  • Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Otis College of Art & Design (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art
  • Pratt Institute (NY)
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • School of Visual Arts in New York City
  • University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
  • University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Active Artist Alumni

Meghan Ambra '07

Caitlin Bennett '13

Emily Biondo '09

Sarah Caporaletti '14

Bobby Coleman '09

Chanan Delivuk '08

Betty Gonzales '15

Chloe Irla '07

David Ross '11

Julia Celebrado-Royer '14

Art exhibition traces its beginnings to the Biology lab

Margret “Meena” Debnam has two works in the exhibition to compare a herbivore (rabbit, shown here) and a carnivore (raccoon). The homologous features (shared traits due to common ancestry) are color-coordinated.

McDaniel College hosts an exhibition, “Skepsis,” that is the culmination of a collaboration between Baltimore artist Breon Gilleran and McDaniel students in Biology professor Katie Staab’s comparative anatomy class.


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