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Visual Arts Program

Working on a pottery wheel in the ceramic studio

The Residential College Visual Arts Program is based on the premise that art at its most fundamental level is an expression of awareness and that first-hand knowledge of the visual arts is an essential determinant of the quality of life. The Visual Arts Program is one of the Residential College’s unique features, as the college itself is unique in requiring its students to take as part of their degree requirements a course in the fine arts, which includes studio work.

Listen to RC alumna Nancy Blum '85 say what the RC Visual Arts Program did for her.

Dialoguing with a visiting artist at their exhibition in the RC Art Gallery

The goals of our program are to develop wide-ranging skills, interests, and capabilities. Diversification, conceptual and interdisciplinary skills, and fundamental visual and craft principles all must be dealt with in one or two courses in any given medium. Our courses require an intensive commitment of time and energy by both faculty and students. It is our intention not only to give students technical expertise in a given area of visual arts but also to train students to think deeply and critically about the place of art in contemporary society.

The Visual Arts Program offers courses at both beginning and upper levels. No prerequisites are necessary for the beginning courses, and students with no previous art experience are encouraged to try these courses. Students have reported over and over how their experience taking RC arts courses enhanced their various pathways of study, from majoring in sociology to art history to chemistry. 


Creating in the printmaking studio

Our studios for ceramics, fibers and design, printmaking, photography and holography are accessible 24 hours a day to enrolled students.

  • The RC Photography Studio offers students the opportunity to shoot, process and develop black and white, color, and holographic images using traditional and digital processes.

  • RC Ceramics Studio offers students the opportunity to create wheel-thrown as well as hand built ceramic forms. Students glaze and fire their work on site. For more information about the RC Ceramics studio please contact Susan Crowell by calling 734-647-4592.

  • The RC Art Gallery is located in the University of Michigan’s East Quadrangle Residence Hall (701 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1245.) [See map.] The approximately 500 square-foot exhibit space hosts two professional and one RC student exhibit in both the fall and winter semesters. The Gallery opened in 1997 in conjunction with the RC’s 30th Anniversary celebration with a photo exhibit of the acclaimed international photojournalist (and 1977 RC alumnus), David Turnley. In recent years exhibitors have included: Frank Cassara, Margo Mensing, Ellen Wilt, Kate Blacklock, Wendel Heers, Marianetta Porter, Tom Voorhees, Sherri Smith, Sa Schloff, and all four of the current RC Studio Art faculty. If you have questions concerning the RC Art Gallery, please contact The RC Art Gallery closes in the summer.

    [Note: The RC Art Gallery is best accessed through the west-side of East Quadrangle, off of East University Street and across from the Ross Business School.] 

  • The RC Printmaking Studio offers students the opportunity to create woodblock prints and screen prints as well as one-of-a-kind monotypes and drawings. For more information about the RC Printmaking studio, please contact instructor Toby Millman
  • The RC Sculpture Studio offers students the opportunity to create sculpture in wood using hand techniques as well as with power tools including the drill press, band saw and lathe.

See the list of RC Visual Arts courses for the next term here.


Opening reception of the sand tapete made in collaboration with visiting artist Fulgencio Lazo, October 2019


Need another reason to take an RC Creative Arts Class, like visual arts? Check out this video: