Visual Arts

All about the work

Bennington College was the first in the country to put the arts at the center of a liberal arts education, and one that has long embraced—for over 80 years—the idea that art can shape our way of thinking  about everything, from aesthetics and philosophy and literature to mathematics and environmental activism and community development.

Taught by practicing professionals accomplished in their fields, Bennington’s visual arts program provides students with a firm grounding in the creative process. As students move from introductory to advanced courses, they develop their own techniques, methods of investigation, conceptual thinking, and understanding of what it means to be a creative practitioner. They are encouraged to explore opportunities across a broad range of media, while examining contemporary creative practice and its connections to the history of art.

The Helen Frankenthaler ’49 Visual Arts Center makes up half of Bennington’s 100,000+ square-foot creative complex, and houses expansive teaching studios, digital labs, workshops, and seminar spaces that support the program. It is an inspiring facility full of light and activity—open 24 hours a day. Students can be found there at all hours—creating new work in their studios, gathering for critiques, collaborating.

During Field Work Term, students work in a wide range of creative spaces including artists’ studios, galleries, non-profit art organizations, design firms, production houses, and many other internships that offer new perspectives and extraordinary work experiences. In their junior year, students are also eligible to apply for the College’s Museum Fellows Term, in which they spend five months living in New York City; gain professional work experience at a major cultural institution; visit exhibitions and study multiple aspects of the art world with Bennington faculty; and meet artists, curators, and other arts and culture leaders.

Students from the visual arts continue their work through graduate studies, set up studios, open galleries, become curators and begin their own practices.

At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of the College's resources both inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work. 

Courses

Courses in visual arts offer both a breadth and depth of experience—providing intensive hands on experience in a range for processes and mediums.

Faculty

At Bennington, students learn how to develop an artistic practice from faculty who are not only showing their work in museums and galleries around the globe, but also taking it outside those traditional spaces, creating new publics and new sites for encountering art.

Alumni

As a student, you'll be building on the work of some of the most significant artists, curators, gallerist, art critics, and museum directors of the 20th and 21st centuries—people who share the ability to create entirely new and utterly transformative forms of seeing, thinking and feeling.

Helen Frankenthaler '49
Helen Frankenthaler '49
Anna Gaskell '92
Anna Gaskell '92
Kathy Halbreich '71
Kathy Halbreich '71
Maren Jenkins Hassinger '69
Maren Jenkins Hassinger '69
Sally Mann '73
Sally Mann '73
Matthew Marks '85
Matthew Marks '85
Odili Donald Odita '90
Odili Donald Odita '90
Güvenç Özel '02
Güvenç Özel '02
Tom Sachs '89
Tom Sachs '89
Ralph Alswang '87
Ralph Alswang '87
Kevin Alter '85
Kevin Alter '85
Brooke Davis Anderson '84
Brooke Davis Anderson '84
Holly Block '80
Holly Block '80
Dan Cameron '79
Dan Cameron '79
John Diebboll '78
John Diebboll '78
Judith DiMaio '72
Judith DiMaio '72
Andrea Fiuczynski '85
Andrea Fiuczynski '85
Helen Frankenthaler '49

Pioneer of color field painting and one of the most influential artists of the past half-century 

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Anna Gaskell '92

Photographer named one of the Best and Brightest by Esquire in 2003, whose work is in the collection of MoMA and has appeared in exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao 

Kathy Halbreich '71

Associate director of The Museum of Modern Art and curator of countless groundbreaking shows 

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Maren Jenkins Hassinger '69

Multimedia artist who creates sculpture, installation, performance, and video art that engages questions of race and gender, and director of the Rhinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art 

Sally Mann '73

Boundary-pushing contemporary photographer and critically acclaimed memoirist

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Matthew Marks '85

Founder of one of the top U.S. art galleries, top-flight contemporary artists from Jasper Johns to Nan Goldin 

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Odili Donald Odita '90

Abstract painter whose work held a prominent position in the 52nd Venice Biennale exhibition

Güvenç Özel '02

Director of the IDEAS Lab at UCLA and winner of a NASA competition to design habitation on Mars

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Tom Sachs '89

Willy Wonka-esque creator of sculptural installations 

Ralph Alswang '87

Photographer for Newsweek, Reuters, and, for eight years, at the White House as the President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton’s official documentary photographer 

Kevin Alter '85

Founder of the award-winning firm Alter Studio architects, leading educator and critic, and associate director of the Center of American Architecture and Design at the University of Texas at Austin 

Brooke Davis Anderson '84

Executive director of Prospect New Orleans and former deputy director of curatorial programming at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

Holly Block '80

Executive director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts and co-commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale 

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Dan Cameron '79

Founder and artistic director of Prospect New Orleans, senior curator at the New Museum in New York from 1995 to 2006, and an independent curator whose work has brought to the spotlight some of the most inventive contemporary artists of the 1990s and 2000s 

John Diebboll '78

Principal designer for renowned architectural firm Michael Graves & Associates whose whimsical designs for fantasy pianos were published as a book, The Art of the Piano, in 2000 

Judith DiMaio '72

Dean of the School of Architecture and Design at the New York Institute of Technology, member of the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and winner of the Rome Prize in Architecture

Andrea Fiuczynski '85

Executive vice president and chairman of the Americas division of Sotheby’s, an international art auction house, and former president of Christie’s Los Angeles

Happenings

EVENT

Grandma Moses: American Modern

Off campus (see description)
EVENT

Twist-Layer-Pour

Off campus (see description)
EVENT

Meet Me Halfway

Off campus (see description)