Student Painting


Kelsey Staub

Experience Drives Opportunity

“The professors in this department are brilliant, original and helped teach me to think outside of the box. They introduced me to hands-on and career-building experiences such as conferences and study abroad opportunities.” 

— Savannah Dearhammer '16

While at Coe, Savannah assisted with curation of Coe’s permanent art collection. Her experience helped her secure internships at the Des Moines Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art, as well as an apprenticeship in art restoration in Florence, Italy. Savannah has been awarded a Dean’s Distinguished Fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in art history at the University of California Riverside.

Why earn your art degree at Coe College?

A Coe art degree prepares you to become a creative thinker, designer and problem solver. Art students at Coe College have significant advantages.

  • Innovative art curriculum that breaks down barriers between mediums to provide broad thematic courses for hands-on learning. 
  • An art degree at Coe is industry-informed, so you’ll be gaining skills that creative professionals know are in demand.
  • Courses where you can gain knowledge that will prepare you for the future — including writing artist statements, creating digital portfolios and websites and how to turn a critical eye toward your creative practice and process.
  • Complete your art degree with a senior exhibition, a capstone project that demonstrates what you’ve learned at Coe.

What to expect from your art classes

  • SMALL & INTERACTIVE: Art class sizes are small, allowing for individual attention and learning. Classrooms are highly interactive, promoting opportunities for critical thinking.
  • FACULTY: Coe has the #7 Most Accessible Professors in the nation, according to The Princeton Review. 
  • SKILLS GAINED: Coe graduates with an art degree are visually literate and understand how to navigate the multimedia world of the 21st century. Coe grads also use their creative problem-solving skills to change and reshape the world around them.
  • HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE: Coe students and faculty have built relationships with community partners through department courses and workshops. Courses have collaborated with Willis Dady Homeless Services and Family Caregivers Center of Mercy.

“Throughout the course of my education, I greatly benefited from interdisciplinary programs like Coe’s that give students the opportunity to work on projects with real-world applications and make connections with professionals in their chosen field. Programs like these let students focus on their areas of interest while gaining the skills they need to be successful and allow them to step confidently into a career in the arts.”

Julia Jessen Cedar Rapids Museum of Art Curator of Collections & Exhibitions

Customize your art degree

We are dedicated to ensuring our students have the tools they need to be successful. With our art concentration options, you’ll be able to gain experiences and develop skills that help you achieve your career goals. Students pursuing an art degree can choose to add the following concentrations:

Opportunities outside of class for art majors

  • Sinclair Auditorium is home to the Marvin Cone and Eaton-Buchan galleries, two contemporary spaces professionally designed to display art in any medium. With their high ceilings and polished concrete floors, these galleries are educational venues that engage the Coe community with the breadth of visual culture on campus, nationally and internationally.
  • The Student Art Gallery, located in Gage Memorial Union, provides a place for students and classes to exhibit their works or experiment with installation techniques.
  • Live and learn in Cedar Rapids, where art is an important part of the past and present. Grant Wood called Cedar Rapids home for the majority of his life. At the Grant Wood Studio visitors can see where the artist lived and worked for many years. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has been operating for over 100 years working to excite, engage and educate through the arts. 
  • Coe is the #12 private college for internships in the country according to the Princeton Review, and has a vast network of alumni in the area. C3: Creativity, Careers, Community is a dedicated space on campus to identify and assist you one-on-one with finding the right mentors and internships, and is ranked the #8 Career Services in the country.
  • Art students are encouraged to participate in off-campus study and internships as complements to the program — students have interned at museums and studios in New York City, Washington D.C., Minneapolis and right here in Cedar Rapids. Many students study abroad in London, Florence and elsewhere.

Careers for art majors

An art degree prepares you for a wide range of rewarding careers in the arts, business, academia and elsewhere. Nearly 100% of reporting Coe graduates are employed or in grad school within nine months of graduation.

These are a few of the positions held by our graduates:

  • Digital Content Producer Editor at the National Football League (NFL)
  • Project Manager at Crozier Fine Arts, Los Angeles
  • Graphic Design and Digital Marketing, Direct Impulse Design, North Liberty
  • Graphic Artist at The Sky Factory, Fairfield, Iowa
  • Graphic Designer and Marketing Manager at Randy's Flooring


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