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Art at New Paltz

For more than half a century, the State University of New York at New Paltz has been well known for its professional art programs and its distinguished faculty of practicing artists and designers who help students pursue creative interests and prepare for careers in the various art disciplines.

At the undergraduate level, all students enter the department as a Bachelor of Science (BS) major. A student may focus on a particular discipline or take an interdisciplinary approach to their studio coursework. Once a student completes foundational and basic studio coursework, he or she may then apply to a particular Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, remain in the BS program, or pursue the more liberal arts-oriented Bachelor of Arts (BA). The Department of Art offers a number of degree programs to accommodate student interests. 

The Master of Fine Arts degree program is a 60-hour program specializing in Ceramics, Metal, Painting & Drawing, Printmaking, Photography & Related Media, and Sculpture. Our MFA programs maintain a tradition of excellence, involving cutting-edge artists, historians, critics and curators. New Paltz is regularly included among the best schools in the Northeast and its Metals program has consistently been ranked as the best in the nation. 

Student Learning Outcomes

By the time they graduate, Art Majors will:

  1. Expand knowledge of diverse histories and contemporary practices in studio art, design, and art education
  2. Demonstrate—in written, visual, and oral forms—an understanding of a work of art or design, in terms of its social, political, cultural, aesthetic and historical context
  3. Develop and articulate self-reflective practices as artists, designers, teachers, and citizens
  4. Create collaboration and engagement with local and global art, design, and learning communities
  5. Build professional networks to support lifelong learning and sustainable practices

Our Mission

As a major educational center for the visual arts and art education, the Department of Art at SUNY New Paltz embodies a community that values curiosity, scholarship, and imagination. A dynamic, responsive curriculum, productive artist/teachers, community engagement, and a highly regarded student-organized guest lecture program support these qualities and objectives. Our educational objectives balance the mastery of specific professional skills and techniques with the ability to think, talk, and write about art. This program is meant to serve students who are optimistic about the role of the arts in society and who see art as a vital, integral part of their lives.

Art majors come from all social strata and have an appreciation for the support, stimulus, and challenges this faculty provides. The Department of Art extends the visual arts to the entire student body through lectures, exhibitions, and courses specifically offered to non-majors. Our access to the arts and culture of New York City gives students exposure to current issues and ideas in the arts. We number among our graduates some of the top artists working nationally and internationally today.

The Department of Art is guided by the belief that art makes a unique contribution to society by offering a visual language of expression and investigation. Art plays an important role in expanding the public imagination by engaging the viewer in visual and intellectual dialogue. Through the synergistic relationship between the visual arts and the liberal arts and sciences at SUNY New Paltz, our students and faculty participate in the larger intellectual, political, and social life of the community.

In the Spotlight

Elizabeth Melnyczuk '15 (BFA, Printmaking)

Elizabeth Melnyczukat '15 at Tamarind Institute

Veleta Vancza '00 (BFA)

Congratulations to Veleta Vancza '00 (BFA) on being awarded a patent (US9730868 B2) for the formulas used to create MINE Luxury Nail Lacquer, as well as formulas for other types of paints, lacquers & suspension based coatings that are pigmented with precious metals & gemstones.