History of Art & Visual Culture

History of Art & Visual Culture

History of Art & Visual Culture at UCCS

The History of Art & Visual Culture program at UCCS emphasizes local and regional museum collections, including Native American, Hispanic, Spanish Colonial, Modern, and Contemporary art.

Karin Larkin, PhD
Director, History of Art & Visual Culture Program

Welcome to the Program in History of Art & Visual Culture at UCCS!

Course offerings in History of Art & Visual Culture at UCCS reflect the unique strengths of local and regional museum collections in the areas of Native American, Hispanic, Spanish Colonial, and Modern and Contemporary art. Courses in these areas are complemented by fieldwork and visits to museums and historic sites in Denver, Colorado Springs, the San Luis Valley, Taos, Santa Fe, and New York City.

Many additional courses are offered in ancient art, Western European art, the art of the Pacific Rim, African art, African American art, feminist art and theory, and the history of photography to round out the major.

The HAVC major is also supported by a group of lower- and upper-division courses required of all students in VAPA that focus on the intersections of art, film, theatre, and music.

We look forward to welcoming you to the program!

Academic Programs

Degrees are in Visual & Performing Arts with a History of Art & Visual Culture option.


VAPA, Minor
History of Art & Visual Culture

History of Art & Visual Culture Course Descriptions

Program Faculty

The faculty of the History of Art & Visual Culture program within the Department of Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA) at UCCS create a dynamic and diverse learning environment for students, offering courses across a broad spectrum of research interests and specializations.

Areas of interest include:

  • Women in Medieval art
  • Visual expressions of identity
  • Cross-cultural exchange
  • The intersection of memory and materiality
  • Post-1960s visual and material culture in the US
  • Material culture
  • Ethno-aesthetics
  • Performance theory

Meet Our Alumni

Gwendolyn Swift
Archives Digital Coordinator, US Olympic and Paralympic Committee

Gwendolyn Swift graduated from UCCS in 2018 with a BA in Art History (HAVC) and a minor in Museum Studies & Gallery Practice. After transferring from Pikes Peak State College with an associate's degree in art, she chose her majors for her passions--history and art--and a practical desire to learn how to apply those passions to museum and archival work. Says Swift, "From my experience, most people who study art history have their sights set on working within the GLAM sector--galleries, libraries, archives, and museums--whether as a curator, registrar, educator, conservator, or something related. HAVC in VAPA is great because it prepares you for those things but also positions you to work in the performing arts in an administrative capacity" by giving you connections to additional visual and performing arts fields.

Gwendolyn notes that one of her favorite memories from UCCS was interning at GOCA and helping install contemporary art for exhibitions. "In art history, you're not only studying the past, you're working with pieces created today. So it was awesome to experience the here-and-now side of things firsthand, complementing all the theory we were being exposed to in classes."

What advice does Swift have for students considering a degree in History of Art & Visual Culture or Museum Studies? "Seek out practical advice as early and as often as possible. The degree is only a part of the picture, and it is much easier to land internships during school [through] active contact with professors who know of opportunities. You will also learn what areas you want to dig deeper into--this will help you decide what kind of graduate program you may want to enter." Gwendolyn adds, "Have an open mind, both with the content you study and with the opportunities you are presented with. Don't be quick to turn something down because it doesn't align perfectly with what you see as your specialty. It's good to have a breadth of exposure to as many experiences as possible, and you will build a more robust network."

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