Whether your passion is rooted in abstract or realism, or you simply desire to share your voice through color, St. Ambrose will help you grow as a fine artist so you can achieve your professional dreams.

Art graduates work at Augustana College, Erie (Illinois) Community School District, Genesis Health, and Jeff Koons Studio New York.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Outstanding Student Art Facilities
  • Faculty Support and Collaboration
  • Focus on Original Voice

Kristin with student outside

student painting outside

Emma painting abstract

Our faculty excel at one-on-one interaction and guidance and apply it to everything from mixing paint to discussing your creative growth and ambition.

Read our Fact Sheet on Painting (pdf)

More Information on the Art Program

What will I learn?

You will take foundation courses in drawing, design, visual narratives and art history, and specialized courses in figure drawing, professional practice, and painting.

Our integrated, liberal arts approach to art making is very valuable. This major will challenge your creative growth. Oil painting, drawing, and other media will become your voice, and we help you incorporate life experience into your exploration of form and content.

Many of our students have been accepted into graduate studio art and art therapy programs, including at the University of Vermont College of Art, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Boston University, Lesley University, Mt. Mary College, and Marquette University.

What are some possible career outcomes?

Painting majors can work as a gallery director, curator, marketing assistant, visual communications specialist, production artist, illustrator, museum educator, museum preparator, design assistant, sign painter, media designer, fine artist/craftsperson, or teach.

It is not uncommon for fine artists to work on their own terms. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016) about half of all fine artists are self-employed and the annual median wage is $48,780.

Where will I learn?

The Art Department and student art facilities are housed in the Galvin Fine Arts Center.

Our main drawing and painting studio is 1,600 square-feet of beautifully-lit open space. Graphic design classes are held in Mac computer labs (complete with the latest design software, Wacom tablets, scanners, laser printers, and a large-form inkjet printer).

Our book arts/printmaking/papermaking studio is not only unique – it is fully equipped:

  • One brand-new 34" x 60" Takach etching press
  • One 28" x 48" Sturges etching press
  • Rembrandt lithography press
  • Griffin lithography press
  • Two Chandler & Price letterpresses
  • Vandercook 325 Letterpress
  • Vacuum table for screen printing
  • Two exposure units
  • Polymer plate maker (essential for digitally-created imagery)
  • 100 drawers of lead type and 20 drawers of wood type
  • Nipping press
  • Three book presses
  • Multiple sewing frames
  • Papermaking studio: Hollander beater, paper press, and more than a dozen moulds and deckles

Galvin also features two public galleries – the Morrissey and Catich – for students to exhibit their work.

Some foundation and advanced courses are held in studios at the Figge Museum, and our students can visit the museum's collection, attend lectures, and participate in workshops for free.

Faculty and Staff

Joseph Lappie, MFA, Assoc. Professor and Chair

Kathryn Anderson, MFA, Assoc. Professor
Terri Buesing-Flynn, Clerk
Renee Meyer Ernst, MFA, Assoc. Professor
Kristin Quinn, MFA, Professor

What about scholarships and grants?

Scholarships are available for students who show exemplary talent in their artwork. If you have that type of creative passion, we want to talk to you about how studies at St. Ambrose can enrich your talent and help lead to several fulfilling career paths.

An art scholarship recognizes and rewards your special gifts and can provide important financial help for your studies. 

Click here to learn more about the Art Scholarship

What have alumni of this program done?
  • After earning her painting degree, Lauren Connolly '09 earned a master's in museum studies. Today, she is the membership coordinator at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
  • Emma Hubner '17 is using her undergraduate education in Painting, Art Education, and English to teach in the Pleasant Valley (Iowa) School District.
  • Beth VanDerMolen '07 is an art therapist at Loyola University Medical Center.

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Painting (27 credits)

Majors also must satisfy the general art requirements. (24 credits)

ART 310 Figure Drawing
+ART 340 Painting I
ART 350 Painting II
ART 410 Professional Practices
ART 420 Painting III
ART 430 Painting IVThree credits of 300-level art history.
Six additional credits of ART or DSGN.

Optional: ART 400 Senior Honors: Fine Arts.

+ Satisfies a General Education requirement

Click here to read course descriptions for Art

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Painting. This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Year One

ENGL 101 English comp. 3 IL 101 Information Lit. 1
NSS 101 New Student Seminar 1 COMM 129,132,203,228,329 3
ART 100 Drawing 3 ART 203 2D Design 3
KIN 149 Wellness Concepts 1 PHIL/THEO 100/200 LEVEL 3
MATH 131 OR CSCI 140 3 ART 207 SF Drawing 3
Total Credits 14 Total Credits 16

Year Two

ART 303 Figure Comp* 3 ART 330 Painting I 3
PHIL/THEO Elective 3 Natural Science 3
AH 250 Art through the Ages 3 KIN Fitness 1
Social Sci 3 AH 251 Art through the Ages II 3
ART ELECTIVE 3 ART 208 SF 3D Design 3
Elective 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 16

Year Three

ART 331 Painting II 3 330 ART 430 Painting III 3 331
ART 304 Figure Drawing 3 303 PHIL/THEO 300 level 3
Electives 6 Writing-intensive elective 3
AH 300 Elective 3 251 ELECTIVE 300 level 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

ART 431 Painting IV* 3 HONORS (Elective) 1
PHIL/THEO Electives 3 ART 403 Professional Practices 3
Electives 3 Electives 9
Electives 300 level 6 Internship 1
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 14

*Needs prerequisite

Meet One of Our Alumni

Our alumni and students are doing fantastic things, something that has become a hallmark of anyone associated with the Bachelor of Arts in Painting at St. Ambrose. Learn more about one member of our community:

Apply Visit Info


Joseph Lappie, MFA, Department Chair

Galvin Fine Arts Center 7
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, Iowa 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 27 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!